What the heck is this brownish mark on Speedy's back?
Rather than view this as drudgery, I have made it my mission to turn these few months of boring into something productive. Believe it not, the 45 days of hand walking were good for Speedy. His ground manners were already pretty good, but he does have a bad habit of spooking into me when he's frightened. We worked hard on that this last month so that he is now trying to not run me over when he gets spooked.
I have to give my boy some serious kudos. I hadn't planned on riding him yesterday; it was a spur of the moment idea. I threw my riding halter on (it's a rope halter with rings for the reins) and grabbed my helmet. I had picked out his feet but hadn't even bothered to run a brush over him. As we walked out to the arena, I realized that I hadn't even changed out of my Mudruckers.
So there I was: rubber boots, bareback, halter, and a horse who hasn't been allowed to even trot for more than 6 weeks. A recipe for total disaster, but it wasn't. Speedy stood patiently by the mounting block as I popped up. We spent the next 20 minutes getting reacquainted. I did a lot of just walking on the buckle, but then I started to ask for a bit of a frame and some simple lateral work … in a halter! He was quite simply a perfectly well behaved, well schooled boy. My heart swelled with pride!
We have 6 weeks to play around with the walk. I am going to use that time to first ride with no saddle so that I can work on my balance and seat aids, but then I plan to move to rides with no stirrups. By the end of April, my goals are to improve my own position, have Speedy really listening to my seat aids, and improve his desire to reach for contact.
By the way, he was so fat and round that it felt like I was on a sofa!