Monday, April 21, 2014

Getting to Know Aiden

Now that Brian and I have four horses again, we're settling into a rhythm. We've divided our guys into 'strings' for the time being. I'm going to be working with Steen and Aiden for a chunk of time, while Brian is primarily in charge of Laredo and Oliver.

I rode Aiden for the first time since his abscess the weekend before last. We did a light ride in the indoor arena, and things felt pretty good. Then he ended up getting a week off. This last weekend, though, it was time to get back to work in earnest. I rode him both Saturday and Sunday. Overall, things went quite well.

Now that he's accustomed to his environment and not in pain, Aiden is proving to be even more laid back than we thought. In fact, this weekend with the sun and the exercise, he was actually a little low energy.

Both Oliver and Aiden are interesting in that most of the time they are pretty good about yielding to pressure, but every now and then they do the opposite. Most of the time you block them with a leg or a rein and they respond nicely, but every now and then they'll just plow straight through the boundary you're trying to set.

My primary goal with Aiden this weekend was to build his confidence. He's a little more of a nervous temperament, and I want him to feel safe and comfortable with me. So I focused on giving him a lot of simple tasks and positive feedback. I was trying to make a very clear distinction between how it felt when he was being attentive and I knew he was trying and responding, and those moments where he'd just lean on me or blow through my leg.

I think it worked out the way I'd hoped. From the start on Sunday, Aiden was even more quiet and settled than he'd been the day before. We also had less moments where he came onto pressure. After a little warm up, I tipped him into the canter. It was a little work to get him into it, but once there, he felt pretty mellow and smooth. I didn't push it. I definitely don't want to overwork him, but I always feel like a know a horse a little better once I've felt walk, trot, and canter.

At any rate, I like Aiden. He's sweet and friendly and laid back. He's a very easy horse to get along with. I'm looking forward to hanging out with him a lot this summer. He's put on some good weight recently, too. I'm curious to watch him continue to fill out.


Horseback Hours YTD: 70:05

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