Sunday, November 27, 2011

Working with Rojo

Over Thanksgiving Robin and I got out to Southern Arizona for a week to visit her family.  As always, it was a really good time.  And we definitely spent a lot of time with the horses.  For the past few visits I've been working on getting a little closer to Rojo, my mother-in-law's red Missouri Fox Trotter.  He can be a little shy and insecure sometimes, but lately he has been spending more time with people and I've been getting better with horses.

Last May was the first time I rode him.  It was only for about 5 minutes, so I couldn't really tell much from that ride.  This trip, though, I rode him four times, for a total of a little over 2 hours.  And I learned a lot.

I definitely learned that he likes me.  He is a horse who looks to his rider for support, and if the rider can't give it, then, well, then other things happen.  We took things slow enough that I felt confident, and because of that, he felt confident.

We started by working on getting a soft feel.  He responded better than Bear.  Of course, when I started this with Bear I had never felt a feel, so I'm sure that was a big part of it.  Or, maybe Rojo has been ridden by people who work off feel.  Hard to tell.  He is in his late teens, so anything is possible.

In the first ride we progressed from getting a soft feel on the ground, standing, and then at the walk.  Even when I pushed him into a trot/fox trot (I often didn't know what I had), he would tuck and respond to light pressure.  He is very responsive.

But he also feels like something other than a horse.  More like what I imagine a giraffe feels like.  It wasn't until our last ride that I could ask him to do some serpentines without worrying he would fall over.  We did make progress with them, and all in all, it was a fantastic experience riding Rojo for four days.  I had never taught another horse things I know.  It was fun.  I also think it could change the way I look at working with Bear.

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