Weather here was decent, albeit with wind, until yesterday. Now it's sticky. Not hot yet, but the humidity and the temperature match and it feels like storm.
Not sure what's on tap for the weekend, but there will be riding! Weather permitting. Thursday evening was gorgeous and after supper I neglected the mowing (it's sad when the pasture's mowed, but the lawn is knee high) and we saddled Sunny and Amyra. Sunny just looked resigned. Amyra looked stiff.
I should note here, I actually have pictures - I just can't get them to upload.
When the stiff look to her eye didn't go away after a bit of a walk-around, I clipped on the lunge line and sent her out in circles for a few minutes. No hunch, but lots of anxiety. She spent about a year and a half with Eric, but T was only home to ride her a couple of times, and I'll admit I was less than enthusiastic. She and I have never quite clicked.
Circles in both directions were uneventful, so I slipped the bridle on over her halter and my dad stood at her head while I stepped on. You've probably heard that old saying about many horses making a rider, but one rider makes a horse? Eric's a very still, efficient rider. And of course, he's also a lot better than I have a prayer of ever getting.
Watching Amyra under Eric was a treat - soft, flowy, willing horse working easily. Unfortunately, it was obvious that T, who is not (yet) a still efficient rider, freaked her out some. Not what she was accustomed to. And she's a horse that gets worried quick.
So stepping on last night I reminded myself to breathe and think happy thoughts. Rubbed her neck a bit and asked her to walk off, focusing on keeping myself relaxed and centered and not stiff. Or floppy. Arms in, legs around her gently, hands quiet as I could keep them. Her neck was stiff in front of me, and when I could see her eye it had that glassy, brittle look it gets when she's worried.
It was pretty clear she didn't like this. And she was very focused on where Rufus and Thunder watched us through the gate bars by the barn. Her brakes worked extra-special good right there - lol!
I talked to her, talked to my folks, and walked circles. Circle left, circle right, wound a serpentine down the lot and back... Gradually I could feel her relax underneath me and begin to walk out. Eric had warned me that "whoa" was a word to be thought. Softly. And even at a walk, that's true. (He admitted, he enjoyed working with her enough that he'd probably put too much handle on her. Truthfully, I think he was very hopeful that we'd let him show her. He had her starting to slide and spin, but I wasn't that excited about riding her. Doing hunt seat with Buddy was more appealing.)
After a few minutes when I'd decided I really wasn't going to die my mom joined us with Sunny. Amyra relaxed even more with equine company. She would have been content to walk around with Sunny, but to her chagrin we kept doing circles. Big, little, spirals in and out, counter bend reverses. By the time we finished, never having left a walk, she was relaxed and her eye was soft. After the last whoa she cocked a hip and stood calmly waiting for me to dismount.
Oddly, I realized as we took saddles off and her eyes got slightly worried again that getting saddled and unsaddled at the trailer was a new experience for her too. Just never occurred to me. But Eric does everything at the cross ties in the barn, and before that saddling always happened at whatever fence post was handy. It was only after she was already at his place that we started leaving the trailer out at the farm.
My mom, meanwhile, was working on getting Sunny to "whoa" nicely for her. My lazy, increasingly round guy is perfectly content to walk along with her wherever she points him - but for some reason he's equally content to poke his nose out and just keep walking, even when she'd like him to stop. It's mildly entertaining, but only in the sense that I usually have to work to keep him moving, and she's having the opposite problem.
On the plus side, they were perfectly relaxed - lol!