As I alluded to in my previous post, Bentley was more like himself once under saddle. We started out in the ring, which was even sloppier than on Friday night, one lap around and that’s all we were prepared to handle. Did I mention yesterday’s weather was GORGEOUS? I flew through my barn chores faster than the speed of sound, made it home for lunch (although I wanted to go right to Bentley, my phone was dead and needed to be charged, not that it mattered because I forgot it at home anyway)
As soon as we hit the trail, Bentley’s eyes lit up and he walked more forward, theres the horse I was looking for! I asked for the trot, and although it was the slowest trot ever, it was a happy and calm one, just out to enjoy the day. We worked our way down to the plateau and ran into Linda Rick and Dave who were setting up a big grazing field with electrical fence. I mentioned my concerns to Linda, she agreed his coat isn’t what it should be, but also that he was moving fine and seemed happy. He had a few bites to eat.
I trotted off back to the cornfields and did some laps trotting and cantering around. He was being such a good boy, I really just let him pick the pace. He chose a very beautiful canter and I was happy to let it continue. He is also getting smart about the hills, coming down to a cautious walk before I even have to tell him. Hence why I let him choose! He was clearly having fun!
After what seemed like ages of trotting and cantering, I brought him back to the walk as he was getting a bit too sweaty. He could clearly do more, but it was warm and hes a furball so I just didn’t want to get too close to the line. It was the perfect time to stop, go down to the valley, and take what might have been the longest drink ever from the creek. Actually he knew we were heading toward the creek and made a good speedy trot as soon as we were pointing that direction. For a while we just stood there and looked around the beautiful valley. He would just take a drink, relax and look around, drink again, and repeat. The cold water must also have felt good on his legs. We wandered around and went through all the creeks and inspected everything.
Again I let him pick the pace, and added the freedom to pick where we went. He took us up into the big field of the valley and trotted and cantered around there for a while, not just around, but through, up, down and over. Yes over. He was feeling so good, he decided to go right over a few of the cross country jumps. Its fun to feel him excited and also confident going to the jumps and knowing he wanted to do them. They were just little of course, the smallest logs on course, but twice he felt brave enough to jump some rather large rusty barrels. Had a good gallop up to them and cleared them beautifully (even though I was prepared for him to run up, decide last minute they were too big, and deek out) He did change his mind last minute about the tires going uphill, that’s ok! This ride wasn’t about trying to get him to go over big jumps, it was about trusting him and just having fun.
We attempted the big hill at the east side of the property. I wasn’t going to as I was worried about the mud, but the down trail looked dry, so we went for it anyway. Perhaps it was a bad idea, the up hill was much more slippery than the downhill, and he went from bouncing up the base to walking, to slippery climbing. We made it both intact, but what an effort! What makes a struggle better? Maybe the 2 giant deer that almost nailed us as they flew across the path the very moment we reached the top. I don’t know where they went, they were going far too fast to get down that hill in any safe manner, so I got off and walked. That had been my plan anyway as Bentley was breathing heavy and we had to make it down the hill.
Down the hill wasn’t so bad. It was good to practice the walking downhill on foot, I assume there will be a point where we need this worked out. It was a little slippery at the top and we both skied down the hill a few feet, but as we came out of the bush it was nice and dry. I mounted at the bottom and walked him to the creek. He was still blowing quite hard but came down after the creek. Of course, as soon as he was, he wanted to go fast again, particularly as he saw the fallen log that makes a fun little jump. Although I showed him the way around the log and told him he could do it and just walk, nope had to give me a lovely canter and jump again.
After that I took charge and told him we were just walking and cooling out. There was a few instances where he tried to convince me “It will be fun” he said “Look how good I am being” he said, but we just kept walking.
I didn’t mention either, the whole time, he felt so calm, relaxed and happy. He was giving me quiet energy and although it was a slow pace for him, he gave a beautiful stride that just ate up ground. He kept his head low and in contact/frame the whole time. Absolutely wonderful! Now we just have to translate that to the ring!