Yesterday, my trainer and I took Chance to a neighboring farm to school. We are trying to get him off the farm in low stress situations to see if that helps his horse show anxiety. He was wild-eyed when he got off the trailer, but instead of throwing him on the lunge line I took him on a long walk around the property. He ate some grass, saw the sights, then when he seemed settled I hopped on.
I hacked him around the arena, and he was nice and quiet. So, we trotted some poles. Still quiet, so we started trotting a line of X’s. He was a little ambitious about them, and actually jumped them, shaking his head on the backside but he came back to me and halted when I asked. I worked on posting slow, and sitting in the line to keep him slow. He still got a little frisky, but not once did he try to run out. Nor did he buck, kick out, rear, or do anything crazy (like he sometimes does when he is worked up). After trotting the line several times, I trotted and cantered him around the arena, got a lead change each way then let him be done.
There were moments when I felt him build and though”ahh what’s he gonna do,” but I remained calm and soft – using my seat to settle him – and he never came unglued. I think we are both getting better, and hopefully more field trips will help. We definitely both need to be able to relax when we are at horse shows, and yesterday was a very positive step for us.