Kind of OK Footing
The ring was OK in some places and hard in others, so I only worked Tucker for about 15 minutes in the arena.
That was after I took Toby out on a short trail ride and rode him in the ring for about 5 minutes. He was a bit cautious in the woods, so I am not sure if it was the hard ground or just a little cold weather and "I haven't been out in a while" anxiety. He was a good boy, though, so all was well.
Tucker was super in the ring, but I wasn't too keen about how hard the ground was. The sand was nice on the sunny side but I could still feel that the cushion just wasn't there. The freeze is deep and the thaw wasn't enough to soften up any more than perhaps two inches of sand at the most. Put that on concrete and it isn't enough give to do too much schooling.
Being a bit daring, I saddled Chance up. He was eager to go out on a hack in the woods. Too eager. He was on his toes and kept trying to trot. Normally, that kind of behavior wouldn't bother me, but Chance is still not reliable to the bit and throws his head around if I check him too much. Since his steering is still kind of questionable, I don't feel I have all the control I need when he gets a little silly. Since he felt like he wanted to take off instead of just walk, I turned around and headed back after we reached the field. He did try to scoot off once even then, so I think made the right choice.
Back in the ring, we just walked. This time we concentrated on steering. Chance is pretty good to the right, but when I try to circle left, he falls in with his inside shoulder and his whole body follows. I discovered pretty quickly that my tendancy to correct him by pulling him over to the right was dropping my weight into my right seat bone. Wrong. What I needed to do was weight my left seat bone and push my left hip forward towards his outside, right shoulder to correct the left shoulder drop.
Worked like a charm. But is sure wasn't easy. I had to concentrate because he kept trying to put me on the right seatbone so he could fall in. The lovely thing was that when I did it right, he softened his back and jaw and seemed quite content.
Times like this, I have to keep telling myself I really do know how to ride. I also have to keep telling myself to ride correctly. It's as much brain power as it is muscle.