Late summer riding

Dusk: Ben walks on, head stretched low, walk purposeful, ignoring shadows and rustling as we make our way home. For it is August and the evenings are drawing in. We took a chance this evening and rode the longer circuit, knowing that the safer roads were on the way home. How Ben loves to ride out!

We have had the use of a field for July and August. It is behind us, craggy and hilly, great to ride in but with quite poor grazing. Ben and Cloud share it with some calves. We have galloped in this field, jumped (yes, even I have faced those coloured poles, dragged in by my daughter). We had a very useful lesson in the field and I learned to control Ben’s pace, for he rushes and becomes quite herd bound in the field, typical possibly for an ex-hunting cob, and butterfly inducing for me ever since I saw him out of control, bucking daughter off in a lesson. We have been having occasional lessons from an instructor who has been teaching in-hand work and talked me through calming Ben (and me) down. Because Ben charged forward, then started to plunge but gradually came back to me and gave a beautiful, collected panther walk. Ben’s response to this lesson? A lick of my hand as I led him away, a rare gesture of appreciation from him.

So we have used the field a lot, but hacked this evening as rain had made the grass slippy, and Ben confirmed what I already know – that he really, really, loves a good hack. I rode in the Micklem bitless bridle, reins dropped on his neck for the most part and he led Cloud all the way round as he likes to do. Despite living in the field for the last two months, no hoof boots were used and none were needed.

A satisfying evening.

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