I started off riding Chick today since I have had a pretty stressful couple of days after my WONDERFUL weekend in West Virginia with my best friend and her family. I really wanted to go on a trail ride and explore more of our new acreage! We started our trip out and Chick was being a bit of a brat. He's been coughing more (he has heaves that normally is really well managed) and has been more tenderfooted than normal despite him being very used to being barefoot. We walked across the dam off the lake/pond and into the back field and explored a bit there before we hit the logging trails. He was acting a little better although if there was the remote possibility he was stepping on so much as a pebble he was acting all tippy-toey. I really need to get to the bottom of that. We walked along and there were large puddles in the middle of the trail and although he resisted, I did convince him to walk through them. Yey! Then there was thunder so we turned around eventually and went back home to the farm. On the way back, he coughed really hard and I dropped my water bottle on the ground. Not wanting to litter, I decided to ride up the trail a bit to see if there was place I could possibility use to get back on him. I found an area that might work if he was willing so I gave it a try-hoping it wouldn't turn in to me having to walk the whole way back. He was really good and stood so I count get back on just fine. :) Overall he was really good!
Then it rained and thundered and I had to wait until Lego was dry before I could ride him! I was thinking I'd just lunge him, but I really wanted to do some work. I hoped on him and it began thundering again. Great. I decided we'd just do a little higher intensity since we wouldn't have as long. We trotted up and down the pasture hills for 10 minutes with no walk breaks (which is tough since its so hilly). I then let him walk a minute or so and began trotting him and cantering him in each direction up the hills. I chanced it and asked him to canter by lifting up my hand since his head was down and he came up on the correct lead perfectly. I think this could really help him figure out which lead I'd like him to be on! Im really excited about this revelation of not "opening" my hand to lead him into the lead but to lift up just slightly. Whoohoo. That will also be better for eventually making the command more subtle. We rode for about 40 minutes until the thunder got closer and I cooled him out.