Wow – has it really been that long since the last Ezekiel update? I guess it has!
Well, we’ve been working as often as we can, as usual my work time is interfering with our free time. It’s also been dang hot, but evening rides are nice. We’ve been working in the arena just on sharpening everything up and getting more responsive to aides. He is doing better, though he continues to have trouble getting off my right leg. Cues on that side asking him to turn to the left require more effort than the same cues to the right. But it’s coming.
Yesterday was our first time on ‘trail’ – we went out the front gate into the little section of land the ranch owns out there. It’s not the official trails we have out back, but it’s somewhere outside the fence and somewhere he’s never been before. We followed Cindy and Wyatt out, and Zeke was very relaxed through the whole ride. We worked on crossing a piece of wood that was out there (no problem), going through a small ‘crater’ depression in the ground (more of a problem, but we did manage to walk nicely around it), and finally a downhill slope.
I approached the slope with some trepidation; I think I even said to Cindy, “We’ll need to learn how to go downhill,” as we followed Wyatt. I needn’t have worried. Zeke crouched his butt and went down like a pro, prompting Cindy to say, “Welcome to the world of mustangs!” They do have great instincts for terrain!
Today was a fun day in the arena, starting some work on collection. For the first time I felt like we got a true canter going, instead of a slow lope gait. He moved forward without my constant urging, using the entire arena and going at a nice speed. Our only issue came when he decided he didn’t need to listen to my cue to turn left as we approached the end of the arena (not getting off that right leg, again!). He ran straight into the mounting block, and I had to conclude he did it on purpose, expecting me to stop and regroup. So…I didn’t, we just kept going. And the next time we passed the corner, I asked nicely for him to turn, and when I felt his resistance, I popped him with that right spur. He leaped forward in surprise, but magically didn’t try to run me into the corner again! The up side of having a horse smart enough to figure out his own “short cuts” is that he’s quick to learn what doesn’t work, too!
After the arena we walked out our back gate, onto the real trails. We didn’t go far, just stepped out and walked up and down a short hill, then back around the pens to finish our day. Someday I hope to have someone around to take a picture while we make our improvements. In the meantime, we’ll keep working on it!