I have got to quit calling him the baby and start calling Jasper.
I went to the ranch for Sat. work crew today, we got one of our boys back (woo hoo!) and my boss was looking for some extra supervision over the weekend. Hel-lo overtime! Spent most of the morning shoveling wet manure out the neglected shelters, and once the boys and I were exhausted we decided to go for a ride. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I had another staff member coming with us. Jasper is just so mellow... I figured if he couldn't handle a trail ride I could come back and Anke could continue the ride with the 3 boys.
In retrospect I should have paid attention to a few things- like this if the first time any the horses have gone on a trail ride since last fall. It was the first time one of the boys had ever been on a trail ride. I started to realize all this as we headed out and Junior, the epitome of the definition of "old snotty pony" started acting up. I told his rider to shorten his reins up by a foot (a few times, of course) which helped. I put Jasper BEHIND the snotty pony so he wouldn't come trotting up behind us. I realized at some point I was really tense. Then I started to worry Jasper would pick up on it and... do what? I have no idea.
Jasper was golden. He was nervous and wouldn't stand still when we stopped, but he walked almost the whole way and responded to light pressure on the bit when he trotted. He didn't jig, he didn't spook. He didn't freak out when the trail went by the pasture and the horses not invited to ride were whinnying and running up and down the fence line. He went up and down gradual slopes and up a short, steep hill.
The trail makes a loop and you head back to the ranch via hay field. Anke wanted to make a loop around another part of the hay field, but it's really steep and so I opted to return to the ranch while everyone else went with her. I took Jasper back to the arena (he whinnied the whole way- but, again, walked) and we practiced turning some more. He is sooo behind the leg.
I guess Junior finally got the best of his rider and bucked him off. He wasn't hurt and got right back on (he's been bucked off the **** pony before) and now has a story to tell for the next week. Ooooooh that snotty pony. I would sell him but I can't. No one would buy him. And for some reason the boys love him. I think he is a mirror for them. They can relate to his obstinance, stubbornness and refusal to follow the rules. The thing is, when I get on him, he never tries to pull anything. So I can't even train him out of it. Out of anything. Usually he works out of it when summer hits. Mostly.