April 25th – day 4 started with a session learning the basics of liberty work. We started with walking round the pen with the horse next to us, Benny ran off as soon as we got in the pen so it turned into a circling game. Once he had calmed down I disengaged the hind quarters with a look and he turned in. The first time he didn’t come back to me but I rewarded the try. He soon got the hang of it and stayed with me and stopped when I stopped. He trotted from my energy and walked when I slowed down. Only did a short session as this new to us both.
Then off for a trail ride round the farm fields, as I haven’t cantered Benny in the school for more than half a circle I wasn’t confident to let him canter on the farm track he did feel like he wanted to go but was very polite and stayed in trot. Once in the field we did a little shoulder in and haunches in round the edge – then a little show. I stayed in walk and trot whilst the more advanced did a proper showing show.
On the way home 2 people wanted the canter on the long track and 2 didn’t – so the 2 that didn’t (I was one of them) trotted up the track ahead of them and waited by the gate at the top. Benny had a very forward trot but I felt in control. He got a bit joggy on the last bit of the ride home and my confidence level went above a 5 so I wanted to stop and get off but Vicky talked me through it and we stopped and flexed and relaxed and then walked on a looser rein. Benny was very good on the roads, with tractors, dogs and sheep in the fields. We had a nice softness as we entered the yard.
Benny then had his back checked and I learned he is a little tight in the left side of the saddle area. nothing a few carrot stretches and a saddle check can’t sort out. Also he is a little stiff in his hocks probably due to arthritis, so I will give him some sort of supplement for this once we get home, and exercise him more to keep him supple.