Nakai has settled quickly in his new stall routine; Mechele says he seems to enjoy coming in for meals. On the other hand, I keep forgetting he has a stall. I tore my tack trunk apart looking for bell boots and they were on his door. Oops!
The stars aligned and I found myself riding at the same time as Marina, Theone, and Mechele. I’ve been working diligently on Nakai’s patience (he’s most impatient at home). She wanted to do a slow conditioning loop with Lina so this was the perfect test.
Nakai rocked! It’s the first time I’ve been out on the home trails with friends in months. I’ve either trailered out with Maria or been by myself.
The first hurry up and wait happened 20 feet into the trail. Mechele attempted the rocky crossing with Lina. Nakai watched her eyeballing the rocks and poking them with her hoof. He was standing so patiently that I didn’t care if Lina took all evening. If Lina never crossed, I would happily end the ride there!
Rocks were no but the mud was OK, so off we went. Marina and Theone zipped into a fast trot and I worked to keep Nakai soft and slow. He has a ground-eating extended trot and wanted so badly to work at that pace, but after a few minutes he softened and rated. He kept his attitude in check but we squirreled all over the trail – a hip popped out here, a shoulder there, or he would drop behind the vertical and try to scoot forward. He settled after about 2 miles, more resigned to his situation that agreeable, but it was a big improvement and I was thrilled.
If I can get the chance to work on rating in a group a few times a week, I think I’ll see a continually improvement in mellowing out his competitive streak.