In an effort to cash in on our previous success, Ridley and I had 2 more dates with the tarp this past week. I decided that the tarp would move each day and become a static object during my rides. As I was on my own, I didn’t want to have to deal with fiddling with it and making a big deal out of it. So, prior to tacking up, I went into the arena and set up the tarp into a little 1 foot wide section underneath a cavaletti with ground rails on both sides to trap the tarp, so to speak.
Immediately after I mounted up, I gave Ridley the choice on where to go. I enjoy a leisurely walk to start our rides and Ridley enjoys his opportunity to decide his path. He instantly honed in on the tarp. I can usually tell when he is feeling particularly brave, and he displays it by going to look at the scariest thing in the ring. His choice, I swear! After giving him a few minutes to snort and snorfle at it, we went to work.
After getting our trot on for a little bit, I pointed him at the cavaletti and sat tall, I knew this was going to be interesting, but I did my best to be nonchalant about the whole thing. As we approached, he tried to zig and zag and when that failed, he stopped. He snorted. Then with a little encouragement, he hopped over it from a standstill. Thankfully, he has a lovely mane for me to grab onto, I don’t want to catch him in the mouth by accident whilst he is pretending to be a deer.
The second time, after stopping, we walked calmly over it.. proving that he didn’t actually need to jump to get to the other side. After that I was able to work it into some courses and we jumped it at the trot and canter without much difficulty.
Ridley 2, Tarp 0
Saturday, on the other hand, I had a very different horse. He tried his best imitation of being a horse kite when I caught him in the field and brought him inside. Seeing this, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and I lunged him prior to getting on. It was the right decision, as he got all of his bucks out of his system on the lunge line, it looked like I was getting my brave chicken back to normal.
As before, I had already gone into the ring and moved the tarp. This time it was under a single vertical on the quarter line. The height of the cavaletti.. I am brave, not too stupid I hoped! I suspected that we were going to have some fireworks during our session based on all of the signs he had given me so far.
After warming up at the walk and trot, in addition to the lunge work, I was getting a nicely bending and listening horse. So we decided to approach our enemy at the trot. He stopped. Several times. So, I figured we could walk/deer jump over it like the day before.
As if you need me to tell you that he chose the latter.
After popping over it, he decided that he didn’t want to be anywhere near where it could get up and eat him, we galloped away bucking. Oh boy was I glad I grabbed his mane! So we spent the rest of our session working on approaching nicely in true bend and cantering away like he had a brain turned on. It took a while, but we did get to a point where he would come back to me within a few strides away from the jump, so we called it quits for the day.
I don’t quite consider this a win, although it was getting there. I am giving this point to the tarp.
Ridley 2, Tarp 1
To be continued….