Tule and I went on a trail ride, just the two of us today. And it was such an incredible experience. I'm exhausted though, it was hard work!
There were several times when he just refused to keep going. I was having flashbacks of Pepper trying to back us over the cliff a few weeks ago....and I was also having Ghengis Khan visions of beating the everloving snot out of him...in fact there was even a moment when I about burst into tears, I got so frustrated. But I got over it, and he did too. It was just a matter of being more stubborn, really. I didn't let him have any options but my way or nothing. He wasn't allowed to put his head down, or turn around, or back up...it was, go THAT way, or don't go at all. And after about the third balk....he did.
I will say that constant pressure on him did not work. So kicking him, pushing into his sides, flapping the reins and smacking him, all that did was make him mad and dig his heels in more. It was when I relaxed and just waited him out that he chose to move forward.
We did a very short uphill canter and a tiny bit of trotting as well, but most of the ride was walking. There were changes in walk speed for sure, but mostly just consistency.
If we'd had company along, there's no way it would have been this hard. He would have been pulling like a freight train. With that said, though, now that I've managed to do this alone, I'm fairly confident that we could do it again. I guess we'll have to see...it'll be a while before we get another beautiful day and chance to try it.