He is so stinkin' cute in Cricket's western bridle!!!
Thursdays are supposed to be our day for doing in-hand work, but Kristi & I decided we really wanted to ride today. So, we picked a few exercises from the Equine Fitness book and I decided to ride with a bit instead of the hackamore. Rhio has been unhappy in snaffle bits in the past, so I tried Cricket's bit, which is a low-port solid curb with short shanks. I couldn't believe how great he looked in Cricket's bridle! And he was quiet & content with the bit immediately, so I hoped for success under saddle.
My little western pony!
We warmed up walking over some poles to loosen their backs, then trotted around the arena both directions, doing large circles at either end. Rhio & I definitely need to work on our bending! He was quite distracted and didn't enjoy being required to stay within the confines of the outdoor arena. Kristi & Cody then did the warm-up at a canter, and I attempted to get Rhio to canter in the arena. We have never succeeded before, and I initially got a really fast trot but eventually he did start to canter for me. Kristi tells me that we did a very nice circuit of the arena in a counter-canter - who knew we could do that?! Too bad it wasn't intentional, or organized, or controlled in any fashion... We cantered a few more times, and only zoomed out of the arena once.
The second exercise we did was a series of serpentines down the center of the arena, using poles to guide our figures. Kristi & Cody were pros! Rhio and I had a pretty dismal performance, but he was relaxed with the bit and never got tense or frustrated as he has in the past with a snaffle bit.
The outdoor arena with the poles laid out for our serpentine work.
We wouldn't have scored very high on execution marks today, but I was thrilled to have achieved two things: cantering in the arena and a happy, relaxed horse working with a bit not just a hackamore. Go Rhio!