I assigned Lil to a 5-year-old rider this morning. The weather was cold and windy so that changed Lil’s outlook and energy – those who know Lil know that excess energy is not a usual description we use when talking about her. She did have some extra this morning.
As the little rider was taking her to the arena I was watching and Lil’s ears were far forward and stayed there. Her head was high and her walk was a bit nervous. I looked to see what was bothering her and about a mile away I saw a rider loping his horse in circles. This was what she was fixating on.
Our lesson quickly turned toward exercises on foot that would bring her attention back to my little rider. After final cinching, I sent them around the arena leading Lil. I had mom lead but little rider walked with them. I told them I wanted them talking to her to bring her attention back to them and what was going on. They lead both directions and Lil gradually began to pay attention to them. When little rider got on, I sent mom with her on foot as an added safety measure. Little rider followed directions and very shortly Lil was tuned in to her and mom was able to come to the side and let her go by herself.
Today little rider found out that you sometimes have to not only put in the required work in order to do something but may even have to put in extra work before you get to the fun. She did without complaining and at the end of the ride had learned some good lessons.