I was going to let Trax tell this story, but he is busy chowing down right now, and didn't feel like story telling. so he gave me the go ahead to speak on his behalf.
I almost backed out of going. I was turning back in to the shy dork of my teen years, it was cold out, and I hate driving at night. But TC didn't let me talk myself out of it, and I am glad. Although it took me an hour to feel that way.
I gave Trax a little bit of his dinner so he wouldn't be quite so grumpy, but he still gave me a pretty good stink eye, when I pulled him away from his feeder.
On the way there I realized that my pick up was out of gas, so a quick stop at the truck stop was in order. Oh but wait...where the heck is my fuel cap key??? I ended up having to bust the cap to fill my truck. I thought that maybe it was a sign to go home, but I pushed on anyway.
Then I remembered that I forgot to hit the ATM at the truck stop so I would have cash to pay for my arena time. So another stop was in order. I thought, "Maybe I'd better just go home." But I pushed on anyway.
When I got there I realized I had no idea which building was the indoor arena, but I got directions from someone, and found a place to park. There were so many trailers there. I thought, "Maybe I should just go home." ....well you get the picture.
I went inside, didn't see anyone I knew, so I just paid and went on out and started ground working Trax. He was really interested in everything that was going on. There must have been 30 horses there, and no less that 15 in the ring at one time. I really didn't ground work him long, just got up on him and walked a while. He wasn't bad, didn't spook at anything, but was just sort of taking it all in with wide eyes.
Finally I saw the gal I was looking for, we will call her RC, and we started riding together. She asked what I wanted to work on in particular, and I told her that for now, just letting him get used to the surroundings was good enough. As we rode she gave me some pointers about pulling his attention off of everything else and back towards me. We worked on softening him and up getting him to drop his head. We just went round and round walking and trotting, and pretty soon without a whole lot of work he was giving me a nice easy trot with his head down and a fairly decent flex at the poll. She had me let him go, as in "quit holding him back, give him his head, and tell him what speed you want with your legs. If he tries to run off, stop him and back him up 10 feet, then ask again." Pretty soon I was able to give him his head, ask for a slow trot and if he started to speed up, I could change me seat and he would drop back down to the original speed I asked." Not bad for my horse that runs through a bit.
She went to switch horses, and I just kept working on the things she showed me. We kicked it up to a canter and he did pretty well.
There were several mules and donkeys there and he was convinced that they were some sort of oddity, especially the mule in full harness whose owner was ground driving him. So we spent a good amount of time just following that mule. The lady was more than happy to be our training tool, so that was cool too. There was one area that he was bothered by, so we would work in the rest of the arena and then go rest at the bad place. Pretty soon it wasn't so bad after all.
By then RC was about ready to get up on her second horse, and Trax was about done for the evening. He was very sweaty and I knew it would take a long time to dry him off, because his hair is so long. All the other horses were wither shaved or had been blanketed all winter. He looked like the poor relation from the other side of the tracks. I didn't care though, because I know that he prefers his winter coat to a blanket anyday.
While RC was tacking up her horse we talked about bits and things, and she told me that although current bit was a perfect beginner shank, I might want to go back to the d-ring snaffle for just a bit, while we teach him a few more things. She also wants me to go back to some split reins. She believes it will help when teaching him his spins.
I let her go on and ride and took Trax away to unsaddle him and cool him down. I ran out to my trailer to get some brushes. Where I had him tied I couldn't really see what was going on in the arena, but once I started walking him to cool him down and dry him off, I could see that there was a group of people standing around a person on the ground. Everyone was stopped out of curtosy so I stopped as well. Then I saw it was RC on the ground. DANGIT!
Paramedics came and checked her out, she was shaken up, had the wind knocked out of her, and she will be sore today, but she is unhurt. I wanted to go over but there were already so many people around her, I knew I would just be in the way.
Eventually when the paramedics left I went over and we talked and she had a person helping her. She told me to go ahead and walk my horse, so I did and stopped to check on her every so often. Once Trax was mostly dried I went and stayed with her and her other friend and walked with them out to her trailer. It was a long slow walk! She couldn't move very fast.
Apparantly she went sailing pretty good and landed on her hip. They were all joking that I should have been able to feel it outside, because she landed hard!
So our ride for Sunday is off, which is fine. I can always ride by myself, as I have some things to work on now. The important thing is that she is ok.
I am so glad I went. It was so good for Trax to be around all that excitement and noise.
Maybe later I will let him come in and tell you his version.