Yesterday, for the first time in 2016, four things lined up: it wasn’t raining (or snowing), it had not done either of those things in the last few days and the footing was good, I got out of work before dark, and the temperature was above 45.
So, we headed up to the outdoor arena for our first outdoor schooling of the season.
My goal for this one was primarily “don’t die.” Tristan tends to be a total ass for our first few rides outside in the season. He’s both excited to be outside and angry to be working so far away from the barn and his stall. There are plenty of distractions.
He feels a little bit like riding a wonky bottle rocket, honestly. All that fizz but no clear focus or direction. And since he’s so rarely like this, I always struggle to manage it in the way that’s best for him.
We ended up walking for the first 15 minutes, until he started to relax, blow out, and hold less tension along his back. Then we picked up a trot with the same goal, gradually adding in circles and diagonals. I picked up the bit, but only enough to feel it and let him know I was here and ready to start to steer.
We picked up a canter for a little bit, which was really more straight up and down than actually workmanlike. Plus, it had that edge of potential bolt at any moment, especially directed toward the barn. But I picked it up and put it down a few times to confirm that I did, in fact, have control of him with my core and my seat and the reins, and then we were done.
I was riding way more defensively than I would have liked, but I got the job done nonetheless.
Tristan was less than pleased with the whole endeavour, of course.