This time last year, I was taking my first rides on Miles. He was finally settling into his environment, behaving himself in the barn and lunging well in the arena. We were also working on Clinton Anderson exercises, mostly lots of desensitizing, the sending exercise, lunging for respect, backing up and yielding the fore and hindquarters. All that groundwork helped me take the leap of faith to get on his back, which of course was pretty much a non event, thankfully.
I found out how truly relaxed and lazy he could be in the spring and summer. Now that the weather is turning brisk, though, I'm finding I may own a spirited thoroughbred after all...he's not done anything naughty, but I feel like it's just there, below the surface. That "sitting on a powder keg" feeling is there more often then not these past couple weeks. Miles has also been tested by other things lately, besides the weather...giant farm machinery appearing at random times, dogs running amok (Ugh, this is getting old I've got to say. And I love dogs!), busier than usual arenas with horses cantering endless circles feet away from Miles and me. LOTS of new horses at the barn. In short, it's not just the weather. And deer season is right around the corner. Joy!
It's also not all bad. Of course I don't expect our environment to always be serene and perfect. Both of us must learn to relax and deal with distractions and new stimuli. So I guess that's good:)
Still, must it all happen while we are also riding in 50 degree temperatures with random ridiculously strong wind gusts? Tonight we faced almost everything I mentioned, plus it was cold. Miles was unfocused, but kept himself together, though at times I could feel he was just barely able to check himself. I gave him lots of praise and support throughout our ride for being so good (his self control under saddle has really been great), but we also didn't get much done. We worked on lots of direction changes and trot/walk transitions, but no cantering. He would probably have been fine, but I just didn't want to risk it. The final straw was when yet another horse came into the ring and did a small rear as we were halted 10 feet away. Miles is a good boy, not an angel.
It's a little frustrating to be limited by our environment right now, but that's OK...again, it's good for us in the long run. I just miss our big canters around the arena, that's all. Maybe we go to the indoor arena next ride...we will be getting very familiar with those fluorescent lights again soon enough anyway:)