1/10/2023 – Our Sixth Ride – This is the first time I do not prep him with lunge at the walk before riding him. I work the poles on the ground to present a small challenge that I believe he can handle. Applying a little pressure and seeing how he handles it will prep for going on a hack which is the goal. I know this is boring and that is absolutely great! Intro to poles is mentally challenging. I leave the arena a different way each day because almost always, racehorses go to and leave the track on the same path so this is also a small challenge a method to present differences in a controlled way. Stevie is careful and he’s smart. I’m always sure to give him lots of praise.
1/11/2023 – Our Seventh Ride – In each video, you can see there is tension come and go in Stevie’s body. I know that my body is my ultimate communicator with Stevie. I keep my body relaxed in response to any tension I feel in Stevie. A relaxed body isn’t sloppy or formless, I maintain my position to make his job easier. I have extended the time I ride him and have not done the short lunge session before. I plan more small challenges which will strengthen our relationship as long as I don’t ask too much. We have a mishap when he starts to step over the rail and mistakenly steps on it causing him to back up and pull the rail with him. He doesn’t expect this and it scares him. We work together to get over the rail again, but it takes some discussion before Stevie makes the effort and tries again. During that time, we communicate with each other to solve the problem. I want to be sure Stevie knows I am listening to him and considering his needs when I ask him to work for me. This is how we build confidence in this new, strange activity that is not racing.