Thursday was unseasonably cool (66℉ in July????) with dark billowy clouds and a chilly breeze first thing in the morning. When I first hopped on, I was pretty sure he was going to be able to get me off. He was higher than a kite and vibrating with energy. He was at his very worst.
Izzy did everything he could think of to explode out from underneath me, but I stuck it out. Over the past week, I've learned how to diffuse or channel his energy while still riding him. I moved him back and forth with my legs, and I played with the rein so that he couldn't quite get a solid purchase on it. KG's gelding was also a tremendous help as he very patiently tolerated Izzy crowding him from behind and the side.
The first day we rode out on the river trail, Izzy was pretty tense for an hour. The second time we rode, it took him forty-five minutes to relax. As wired as he was on Thursday, it only took him fifteen minutes to let it all go. We spent the next hour and a quarter having a grand old time.
I am okay with that kind of stuff. That's just a young horse trying to build some confidence and screw up his courage. Stopping and thinking about something scary just shows that he has a brain, and he's using it.
The trail work is helping both of us. I know how to get a tense and anxious horse down the trail, and I can already feel him responding to my confidence. When we've gone back into the arena, I have a better sense of how much I can "push" him. There aren't a lot of choices on the trail - he doesn't get to run off wherever he'd like. Letting him do that would endanger not only us, but my riding partner and other trail users. So when he acts up on the trail, I have to ride him through it. And so far, he's trusted me enough to listen and try. Having an equine buddy helps immensely of course.
I was really proud of him and thrilled that he was using the thinking side of his brain. When we walked up to the trailer, he immediately dropped his head so that I could pull his bridle. He also drank and munched away at his hay. While he was aware of the hay and water before, he was still too tense to really enjoy them.
When we got home, I turned him out and did some more free lunging. Since it was still so cool, he had a good amount of energy, and for the first time in a while, he wanted to gallop around. Once he was quiet again and following me around, I put him away.
KG is sticking to the Tuesday/Thursday trail day, so Izzy should get quite a few rides over the next four weeks - I go back to work in mid-August. I'm hopeful that he'll be solidly green broke by then!