Much has changed since I left to go on holiday. I missed the yard lots, and definitely missed my Rio! We have ridden every day since I got back except his rest day on Tuesday, and I'm loving being back in the saddle and feeling comfortable there. We've been riding with others every day, which has been really quite pleasant, but we are going to have to start flying solo once a week soon so that I can start working on our ridden bond and loosening him up on his own. We also need to work on getting into the outdoor school, which I keep putting off because it's been breezy. But I'm back in the saddle!
I've been working on keeping myself relaxed, and I feel like a completely different person. I'd started getting very tense when riding, and would definitely avoid long reins. Since getting back from holiday, I've found my confidence again, and my balance, and am currently more than happy giving Rio his head without panicking at every twitch of a muscle or every time he looks around for a nose at what's going on.
The pony play day was great fun, we had a bit of action on the ground with him trying to establish dominance and failing because we wouldn't give in to his very Left Brain antics. (That's the rearing - he never does it in a dangerous way, he does it in such a calculated fashion, and never with the intention to physically strike out at you). Some good transitions into canter, which we need to continue to work on, and then will come the work on cantering for an extended time - we are currently lucky to get one circuit! On the plus side, I did manage a couple of good canter transitions without looping my fingers through the neck strap to stop my hands going up, which was a huge achievement for me. It just goes to show how much more relaxed I am with him right now.
Once we'd had some lunch we played the gymkhana games, and whilst Rio wasn't sure what was going on when we headed away from our team, when we were heading back towards them, he was more than happy to kick it up a gear and canter back! He was absolutely brilliant for his first time playing, my proudest moments being him standing very nicely whilst I dressed up in a scarf, long coat and gloves (whilst mounted) and also him letting me swing myself up from the ground after bobbing around for an apple for what seemed FOREVER (had to keep the apple in my mouth), and cantering flat out back to the team! There was a mounting block up at the other end, but until recently I've always mounted from the ground because he used to fidget too much. That's no longer an issue, and I'm proud to say we are mounting from the ramp every time now. Love him!
Ride/play safe x