I think one of the reasons that I love training green horses is that it is so fun to see them gain confidence as they have positive experiences. I am a believer in taking my time to build the horse up and not just doing something because they can. When a horse learns they can trust you because you have taken the time to give them a nice foundation than they will give it their all.
This had become pretty evident when I looked over at my husband riding Letterman this weekend 🙂 Kurt is very confident riding Junior but rarely rides any other horses. I have a bunch of horses that just need to hit the trails to get mileage and experience. I wanted to take out two sets and we have more time to do this on the weekends so weekends do become our trail riding day.
I asked him if he could ride Letterman so I could take Bling. Bling doesn’t need a horse but I like to have company on the trails. I wanted to take my new horse out with Junior because Junior is very safe and can deal with baby antics. Kurt agreed but I could tell he was a bit nervous about it.
Letterman has come a long way in the year that he has been with me. He is pretty much what I would call a trail packer at this point. He still spooks at things but that is part of his personality. They aren’t bad spook but more or less him keeping you awake up there. Letterman used to be a bit chicken and didn’t want to lead the trails but now he is happy to lead. He also used to really silly about jumping logs and things on the trails and wanted to refuse. Now he pulls you towards them. That is the result of lots and lots of quality rides out following an experienced horse. He thinks he is the man and doesn’t suffer from a lack of confidence anymore 🙂
Kurt actually really enjoyed Letterman. He teased me about Letterman’s lack of steering which is totally true. Letterman sort of goes all over the trail and is a bit resistant about going straight. I don’t harp on him about it and actually stopped noticing. Now that Kurt pointed it out I really notice it.
Bling is pretty darn awesome. Total enjoyment to ride him. We went down to this part where the bridge washed out. They have now fixed it and it’s kind of scary looking but Bling led the way over it. I asked Kurt if he wanted to canter and he wasn’t sure but I asked him to just give it a try. He was worried b/c Letterman is a bit strong but I told him that he is slow and although he doesn’t stop on a dime he won’t go fast. Letterman was perfect for him and we have a few nice canters. We were cantering on the way back and Kurt was behind me and I was looking over my shoulder to check on him when we came up on another group of horses. Bling didn’t give it a second thought but we slowed down to a walk to pass.
My new horse was really awesome for his first trail ride! Always a big relief when they enjoy it.
Sunday we went out again, this time with Junior, Letterman and a friend riding Bear. We had a great time and Kurt and I got our sillies out by cantering around jumping random logs. It’s pretty fun for me to see Kurt having so much fun and I am absolutely in love with Letterman. He is a weird horse but you couldn’t ask for a better trail partner. I am almost amazed at how much he has changed in a year. I think he will be quite game out cross country this year with all his new-found confidence.