And Some Schooling
I rode all three Boys again today.
I worked Tucker in the ring for about a half hour. Even without my spurs, he was pretty well forward. I think my aids are a bit more refined and subtle when I do have the spurs on, but he was willing to go without too much effort on my part.
I did the shoulder-in, ten meter circle, haunches in on both reins several times, suppling him up and he became pretty solidly round in a more elevated frame. I still need some "eyes" on the ground to give me a better evaluation, but he felt good nonetheless. If I ever set up the acrylic mirrors I have materials for, I will be able to see how we look, but for now, I need to rely on "feel." I also did a fair bit of canter/counter canter on each rein, finding him more likely to break on the right lead if I wasn't careful to keep my driving aids on. Then I experimented with a few canter/walk/canter transitions. Overall, he was far better at them than the last time I tried them about two weeks ago. Interesting. It must be as much an intellectual exercise as a physical one since he remembered the principles even though he is no fitter than he was then. I finished up his school with a hack through the woods to cool off--over 40 degrees f again--warm for December. He was angelic.
I decided to test out Chance in the field to see if his calm, but interested attitude on the trail was a fluke. I must say, I am impressed with his quiet eagerness. I think he really enjoys the adventure. I still don't feel totally capable of steering him, but he never feels out of control, so it's no big deal. We went out onto the farm field road, circled around a bit in the cornfield, then looped back onto the road to head home. All of about 15-20 minutes, but out in the open. He was an absolute star.
On the way back, I let him have a mouthful of green grass at the edge of the field. That was amusing, because he couldn't manage to chew it with the bit in his mouth. All the way home he walked like a drunken sailor, totally focused on the grass instead of where he was going.
That left just enough time to take Toby out for a short trail ride. He tried to duck away when I showed him the bridle, but once he was saddled, he headed right for the gate and we had a nice forward ride. One little spook at something lying beside the trail marred what was nearly perfect, but that's Toby.
All in all, another good day in the saddle. I think I'm getting spoiled.