River had her fourth ride today, if one counts “rides” the way people tend to talk about them in the horse industry. She has carried passengers before (including me!) and had a lot of practice with mounting and dismounting. But now she is learning to follow leadership from the person on her back and according to her teacher Erin Murphy, River is doing great.
River was recently featured on Erin’s website. See “Slow and Steady Start” at Equine Partners, Inc.
I helped Erin yesterday, adding a little bit of pressure from the ground to help River if she didn’t respond to the rider’s cues. Today, I went out there, but was not needed even one time. River is already going, stopping, turning, and backing based on cues from Erin in the saddle.
River is a little sticky, which is no surprise, as she can be like that on the ground too. She was also bracing a little bit, physically, but not emotionally or mentally. Both days, I saw her put a lot of effort into learning, and she improved from yesterday to today.
River is a little nervous about zone 4, so Erin made sure to mix a lot of friendly game in with the steady and rhythmic pressure.
Tomorrow we are taking a field trip to Maple Leaf Stables where we will get to play with a mechanical cow. I’ll have River on the 22-foot line and play with her on the ground. It will be fun to see her cutting horse instincts have a chance to come out. And hopefully I’ll get some good exercise out of it, while learning just how much “cow” *I* have!