Nayners is a star🌟. Seriously.
This horse is a star. Every single time we go out, he’s better than the last time out. It’s amazing and I’m so impressed by Mr. Nayners. He’s such a good little green bean.
When we last left off, we introduced the canter in our lesson and cantered down the long side 3-4 times, stopping at the end of the arena. Other than to stop, I wasn’t allowed to touch Nay’s mouth provided he didn’t do anything stupid. But like the trot, he’s been pretty level headed.
Now, Nay isn’t directly off the track, but I really don’t have a clue how much he was ridden by his previous adopter before her health deteriorated considering how green he still is. Add in some anxiety… anyway, we’re treating him like he knows nothing.
So Friday’s lesson. I was on my own hauling over. So I tacked at home and tossed his cooler over his saddle, but I’d probably have been fine to tack at the barn because he was…fine. Been there, done that. Slightly tight, but fine. I opted to lunge at the trot for all of 2 minutes, but again, just more because it is the routine, not because I needed to. I also left his rope halter on under his bridle, but decided this would be his last time with it as it was no longer necessary. We got a hand mounting, but again, not exactly necessary, just…familiar.
Our walking warm up included me making as much fuss in the saddle as possible, leaning in all directions and being as wobbly as I could, just to get him used to that. Then we trotted a good long time on a long rein, introducing as much movement as possible. He tended to slow down when I leaned back, but otherwise stayed pretty consistent. There was a brief moment of screaming to a horse in the field, but som talking and refocusing got us back on track (brain, not pace). Eventually, we started adding leg to increase the pace, encouraging more trot. Nay had no issues with this other that trotting faster is harder and squeezing is required to maintain the more forward pace. But, he did through his circles, trips down the long sides, and wherever it was we went. He was thrilled with the cue to…walk.
Next up? The canter. We started off with the same drill. Pick up our trot, trot down to the far end, ask for the canter, canter long side, then halt. Nayners was very much ready and aced the exercise with a perfectly paced canter. Last lesson the canter felt quick. This time? Completely comfortable.
(Videos are from my ride Saturday where Nay took completely relaxed to the next level…)
Next up, “if he’s quiet, keep cantering all the way around.” This you guys was a struggle. Nayners was all set to walk though he picked it back up without protest and out third attempt we actually made it all the way around the ring without breaking. The amount of leg required. Damn. I struggled the second time as I rushed the transition and got forward which didn’t help (this saddle tips me forward too, but fits him ok for now). But we got there.
We next attempted the right lead. This direction was rough. Less because he did anything bad, but just because he’s so weak. Still, we managed to canter around in one piece without collapsing of exhaustion, so success! Homework? Canter as much as possible.
We finished our journey by touring the barn just because…
Saturday we headed out to practice. He was dead quiet unloading and stood still for me to tack solo (husband in truck). I tried to lunge but trotting around for 2 minutes was hard and unnecessary. Still, routine.
Success? Mounting solo for the first time! We trotted around, watched another horse trot and canter, walked over a small plank just because he decided to. And we cantered.
The canter was slower than Friday during our lesson. I completely failed to maintain it around the one corner (sitting back will help), but I can’t complain. He truly tried his best. Say Slow Nay Nay is his name. And he impresses me every single time.
We ended by untacking in the barn. Why? Why not. He stood in the cross ties and acted like he belonged there.
I adore this horse. Completely.