Yesterday the weather was wonderful, as soon as I got home from work I put on some riding boots and announced that I was off to the arena. I asked if anyone felt like tagging along and to my complete and total surprise TC shut the TV off.
At that point Simon said that if TC was going, he would go also. Holy Moly! The world must be coming to an end!
So I grabbed Trax and Killian and we got them saddled up and headed down the road. I have learned that Wednesday nights are the best night to go there because we seem to always have the entire place to ourselves.
I'm not going to bore you with all the details of the ride because it wasn't that spectacular. I'm not sure what has happened to my horse, but we seem to have lost any softness or poll flexing that we had before. I can't help but wonder if there is a link between this and going back to the D-ring snaffle. the last two rides have not been very good and the last two rides have both been in that D-ring. I guess the only way to find out is to go back to the Mylar, and see what happens. I seem to recall Jay telling me that the bit shouldn't matter, but I'm not sure if I agree. When I had him in the Mylar we seemed to be making progress. When I went back to the D-ring we seem to be backing up. The Mylar gives a little more tongue relief and it is possible the snaffle is pinching his tongue. Also I really suspect he needs his teeth done, which will be happening in April.
I did start him off with lots of serpentine drills, and truthfully he was pretty soft on those, moving off of my leg more than the mouth contact. I tried really hard to get a nice easy trot with loose reins but it just wasn't happening. He would speed up, I would stop and back him, but instead of dropping his head to back up, it went straight up. As soon as he dropped it, I would get 2 more steps then release. Then we would start again. I switched to a different tactic of keeping pressure on his mouth at the trot until he dropped his head, then I would release the pressure, which he took as a sign to speed up. So it wasn't very effective either.
I really wanted to find something we could do and be successful at so I tried to think of all the things I have read about the classes I want to put him in. "Walk Trot Western' Okay so lets try that. We walked. But then I remembered reading that they want you to be able to guide your horse with little or no rein contact what so ever. so we worked on that at a walk.
Finally we had some success! Just simple and easy, turn left, turn right. A lot of just leg cues, and making a conscious effort on my end to not touch those reins. His head was down and it was pretty nice. We also did some very nice side passes, as close to effort less as we have ever done so far. So that was good as well.
I found that I really need to find that exact amount of leg pressure to ask for a trot. I noticed that sometimes I'd ask for it, and end up with a tail swish and a jump into a canter. Once I was able to get that exact pressure needed he would step up into the trot nice and easy.
Meanwhile Simon was doing all he could to get Killian to keep a steady trot. I finally told him to get a small stick to help him a long. Not to hit him with but just a light tap. It did seem to help. At the end I got on Killian for a minute and trotted him around. then I asked for a couple of spins. I know he knows how to do them, but it was clear that it is painful for him to do them to the right. I suspect it is his shoulder that bothers him. Tonight I am going to get some Bute for him. I want to see if it makes a difference.
TC was the camera man and took a lot of video but it all sucks so I won't be posting it. But here is a picture he took. I look so angry, but I really wasn't. I'm just really unphotogenic. I was actually quite happy. It was nice getting to spend time with my family while riding. It doesn't happen often so I was very grateful!