As before, I met up on Saturday with my friend Marci at her house along with her Arab gelding Gem. As we first walked out, Izzy wanted to be a giraffe, but that really only lasted a few minutes. Once we were actually out on the trail, he was relaxed and happy no matter which direction we went.
Gem already has a really efficient, ground-covering trot. Izzy doesn't. He had to work really hard to stay balanced without running on his forehand. When Gem would start to put some distance between us, Izzy would try to quicken his pace but hollow his back. Instead of doing that, I half halted to remind him to sit on his hind end, and then I asked him to push forward. We did some fairly long trot sets so Izzy got some excellent practice at lengthening his stride and using his back more effectively.
I don't mind if my horses want to stop and do a safety check. I get it, stuff is scary. Whirling and slamming on the breaks exceeds what I call a safety check though. It also says that my horse has no confidence in my decision-making skills. I started carrying a long thin rope as a "whacker" for moments just like these. I grabbed the line and popped Izzy behind my leg until he shot past the offensive pump.
Stopping and checking in with me is allowed. Taking matters into your hands is not. When we passed by it later, I was quite pleased that he didn't even look at it. It might have helped that it was being quiet, but whatever, I'll take the win.
And besides that, I think he actually enjoys going out on the trail!