Today's ride with Scout was all of an hour and really was good. We rode in a bigger area - one of the pastures - for a while and then I took him out into the front field, which isn't as enclosed and has a lot more distractions. Eventually we went up the driveway a ways and tried riding out in an unused, treed field. He was worried about what might be in the bushes and he was drawn back toward the mares, but I was able to get his attention and do some good work. But then I started thinking about paper wasps and how they like to build nests in the weeds there, so we went back.
Scout is hyper aware of any movement in the trees around the house, although he didn't do anything stupid even when big things happened, and he seems very wary of the dogs. While Keith was riding him he did have one big uh-oh moment and it was caused by a white dog running at him. He turned tail and ran, but it was at a nice medium lope. I'm hoping not to have any big spooks like that, but I know it is a possibility. He did spook like that once when I was ponying him, when the dogs popped up out of the creek behind him. Overall though, he's not a spooky horse. It's pretty neat riding a horse who doesn't look at every object like it might eat him. But in so many other ways he doesn't come close to comparing to Tonka. I made a good analogy today. Riding Tonka is like driving a sports car, whereas Scout is like a big bus. Slower, less responsive, less maneuverable. In the future that will be a wonderful thing, since I'm hoping Scout will be a good husband/kid/all-around trail horse. Right now it's a little odd trying to make the adjustment. I'm sure it's odd for him trying to get used to my inept riding after working with Keith. We'll get it all sorted out. I'm not going to give up on getting responsiveness out of him, but I have to be aware of the fact that he's not eagerly awaiting my every whim like Tonka is. He thinks he has his own agenda. And he has a short attention span!
Tomorrow I think I'll set up some minor obstacles and give us both something to think about. I may try taking him out on the trail with another horse this week. Just an easy trail, an old logging road he's been on before. I don't want to push to far too fast, but I also don't want him to be too complacent and think this whole riding thing is dumb and not worth his attention.
It's fun, it's new, and it's good work, but I still find myself missing riding my Tonka.
I let them all out in the pasture for a little over an hour tonight and Tonka's leg seemed fine afterward. I had tried trotting him in the round pen yesterday but I couldn't tell why he was off - whether it was EPSM or the tendon. He just wasn't right. So I figured if he seems to tolerate being in the pasture that can be the beginning of a reconditioning program and we can work on getting the EPSM back under control so he can be more comfortable. I'll have to start lunging him again at some point. He was doing so well, I hate to think of all the boring work that lies ahead to get him back in shape. And there's Bella to think of too. I haven't done a thing with her in a while. Not that she minds.