Me and Smokey, pre-spook.
Yesterday I went to the barn to ride on Smokey again. While I had committed to buying him, I hadn't put money down, hadn't signed anything.
So I decided I would do another little test.
I got on him cold backed. No lunging. No prep work. Just get on and go.
He stood stock still for saddling.
He lead quietly.
He took the bit without a fuss.
He moved a little when I went to mount, I moved him around quickly. Then he stood still for mounting.
We rode just up and down the road, then over to the round pen. Behind us, Cibolo spooked at a sparrow. Smokey ignored it.
We went in the open gate in the round pen and left it open.
A huge bird suddenly took off behind a tree. I didn't see it, but the folks with me and Smokey sure did.
He spooked! He was running, taking off, having a fit! I could barely hold on! I thought back to all the times I'd been through this...
Just kidding. That one was for YOU, Trail Rider.
So actually, the huge bird took off suddenly, Smokey saw it and spooked slightly, shifting to the right. Then was quickly back to work.
Check. I can handle that.
We worked on softening his backing. And me understanding his cues. Getting softer and softer until we were backing with weight and a slight pressure in stirrups and reins.
Then I dismounted and he was stock still for that.
We hand walked. He got distracted for a moment, I backed him two steps. He didn't take his eyes off me after that.
We put a funny hat on his head. He looked perplexed but cooperated. He watched Mireya do a funny dance.
I'll be writing one today. A check, I mean. :)
All teasing aside, I do plan on doing one thing different this time. I'm going to be the same in the saddle as I am on the ground. I am going to keep the rules clear and consistent. To that end, I'm going to train and learn as much about riding as I did about ground work. I'm going to be ready to get pro help as needed, and often. I'm going to ride other horses, and work with a wide variety of trainers. Just like Trail Rider suggested, and has been suggesting for some time, and at times with more vehemence than others.
Because Smokey is just 4. And I want to do right by him.