Actual First Rides
My last post was not aptly named and also uploaded from my phone like 5 times (sadly I lost a couple comments when I deleted the extra copies). Serious WTF for my phone blogging app. I mentioned the first rides, but only shared media from ride 3 or 4. Our first rides were pretty laid back with lots of walking. I wanted to make sure his body was used to moving again after being on stall rest. When a horse is going back into work after stall rest and an injury you want to be very aware of their whole body, not just the injury site. They can very easily injure some other area due to trying to protect what used to hurt, as well as pulling a random muscle just like we can when we haven't exercised in a while.
His riding manners were much better than his ground manners. We can walk around on a long rein, but he was mowing me over on the ground on the regular. Something that he is great at on the ground and under saddle is standing still. Like seriously omg wow! A brand new OTTB who wants to stand still? I'll take it. So while leading him around we walk a few steps and stop and walk and stop and walk and stop, and guess what!? He is leading much better. I've had to think of new ways to do ground work with him since the typical methods of small circles and sharp turns isn't really the best thing for his stifle at this point.
He has thrown in a few spooks while I ride him, but they are pretty easily ridden through and he recovers quickly. He also seems to keep his brain around, he might react, but he doesn't check out.
There is one totally fenced arena at the barn that is used for turnout, lunging, and horses that people want fenced in while riding. I might of tried using that ring for our first few rides, except that it is a bit of a walk from the barn. As I mentioned his ground manners were rather lacking so I took my chances riding in the closer but unenclosed rings. It was a good gamble. We started in the dressage ring, probably more for my brain than his. Eventually we worked our way into riding around the jump ring. As I get used to him (and he gets used to me) I can feel our confidence growing. If he does spook or grab his ass I just push him forward into harder work and then when the moment is right give him a break. He is realizing that it is better to just be chill.
So far he is doing great and settling into life as a sporthorse.