Took the big guy to his first dressage outing - a practice evening at the WEC. This should be a nice low key (low excitement) outing for him.
Considering I've not ridden him in company AT ALL, nor has he been on the grass arena, and he's really had very little work since he raced, I really had no idea how he would react.
Mum came down to help with the mounting, and although still anxious he is starting to relax a little more.
However, there was a lot more going on than I had bargained for with pony club show jumping trials on the sand arena, as well as those warming up for the dressage. I was very pleased with how relaxed he was walking through the car park, inbetween trucks etc, as well as there being floats still arriving. He was also very good walking across the road, and although his eyes were on stalks walking past the dressage arenas, people etc etc, he never once hesitated or shied.
However, there really was just too much going on for him to cope with at this stage, and rather than getting more relaxed as I worked him, he simply got more and more wound up, and became very strong - and the trot got quite 'interesting'. Unfortunately, I did hang on to him a bit which I am sure he resented (he did start throwing his head up towards the end, but by then I think he just wanted out of there anyway). They were also about to start show jumping!
I decided I would get off at that point, as I didnt fancy trying to steer him through the narrow aisle between the dressage arenas and the edge when there were also people and ponies around. (I think we would have had the leapy cantering sideways thing going on had I tried - it was 'fun' enough trying to lead him). And I really dont think anything was to be gained in taking him in an arena for the first time in that frame of mind.
He did relax again very quickly which was pleasing, as well as the fact that he didnt actual "do" anything - just felt like it was a distinct possibility!
Will just continue to get him out as much as possible so that he (and I) become less anxious about it all.