Eugene Lesson

On Sunday, before we took him home, my husband had his first riding lesson with Eugene. They started by loading him into the trailer to make sure that wouldn't be a problem. He needed a few circles to get over his initial snootiness, but then he just walked right on.

This was an extremely long lesson and I was starting to get nervous as we had dinner and GoT watching to do at a friends'. We only ended up being a little late to that thankfully.

I was really impressed to see that Eugene was totally unphased by being tacked up. Given that he has previously spooked at hats and jackets, I expected antsy-ness at saddle pads and saddles, but there was none. Which gives me a lot of hope as he clearly is okay with the things he's okay with. It also further enforced my opinion that he needed to come to our barn to get more exposure to lots of people and weird things happening.

The trainer started by doing some round penning work with him saddled and then having my husband do more round penning while tacked. I don't have many pictures of this section because I think it's boring, so let's move on.

Finally the trainer got on him. She said she always mounts form the ground so he wasn't very used to mounting blocks, but she had been using one a bit with him since she figured we'd want to use one. There was a lot of talking before my husband got on. My husband's impression was that the trainer generally works with more nervous people who expect their horses to be really solid and broke. For example, she was very concerned because he leans at the canter. And I'm like, it took over a year for me to be able to canter Nilla at all. Another year later and she's still barely tolerable at it. We can deal with leaning.

Endless talking

Finally on the horse
They started with walking with lots of circles to get him bending as he likes to bulge his shoulder inwards to avoid scary things (mainly me standing near the fence).

Then they moved on to trotting and cantering.

I don't think I've mentioned before, but we apparently managed to adopt a gaited Mustang. While I love gaited horses and I am sure that a lot of people out there would kill to own a gaited Mustang, my husband actually doesn't like gaited horses. Eugene only does a few steps of gaiting before breaking to trot, so he's not strongly gaited, but I imagine it could be strengthened if we were to work on it. As my husband plans to do dressage and jumping with Eugene, we'll be ignoring it and phasing it out.

My husband really enjoyed riding Eugene and was impressed with how well behaved he was. He's still very obviously green and going to need a lot of work, but he's got a pretty solid foundation to move forward with. Training will continue with our barn's seasonal trainer and hopefully some lessons when he's ready.