|Hanging out with Oak after our third ride|
Wednesday was our third ride. Chris has done some clicker training, so I suggested he practice walking Oak without me on him first and reward Oak for good transitions and for being calm and forward. Next, I had him mark and reward him for staying calm while I practiced mounting and dismounting. Oak seemed calmer. Then, I had Chris reward Oak as he had before only this time I was on his back. Only one tiny kick this time. He was much more forward and relaxed. I think using clicker training helped us all focus on the positive and relax and listen to each other. Chris said it helped him focus on what Oak was doing ride then that he could reward, which helped him stay calm. I felt like we had more of a plan, so I know my breathing was better, and Oak am sure liked figuring out what the heck we wanted from him!
I ended the session by moving Oak away from Chris with some rein and applying a little leg to cue forward myself. He did really well with it. The only new strangeness I noted for our third ride was that Oak was giving my outside foot a lot of side-eye. Before I dismounted I wiggled my feet around in the stirrups to address that a little. Definitely made him tense up. I waited until I got a little release (blinking), and I rewarded him with a pat and dismount. Overall really proud of him!
Oak is also cantering both directions now in the roundpen. He still has balance issues, and we are slowly building up strength, but he canters a little more each session. He moves off really well -- no bucking or kicking out which is great!
Gray got a rub from the flymask so I am waiting on that to heal up before I put a halter on him to work with him. It is always something with that horse! I have been playing with him at liberty in the paddock for a few minutes everyday, but I hope to really get some serious work done soon!