And Rode Again
I saddled Tucker up first today and schooled him in the ring for about 25 minutes or so.
The footing was better, with more dry places, but there was still some slop and a few slippery places. Still we managed some good work. I had some nice canter exercises in the drier area where I did a few square turns. He was a little better at it on the left rein since on the right he wanted to overbend to the inside instead of lifting his outside shoulder around the turn.
However, it only took one or two tries before he got the hang of it, so I changed exercises.
Some counter canter work was next and Tucker finds that so easy he doesn't care if he changes back to the correct lead. This may be a disadvantage down the line when I start the flying changes as some horses "want" to be on the correct lead so much that they change easily. Still the counter canter needs to be confirmed, and is part of the second level tests, so I'm glad he isn't bothered by it.
I finished up with some canter-walk-canter transitions or facsimiles thereof. Tucker still wants to drop on his forehand on the downwards so going directly into a walk without any trot steps is not yet his forte. I finally ended up saying, "Walk," and that helped tremendously. With the voice command as an extra aid, I managed a good downward and upward on each rein and called it a night.
Hoping the trails had dried out since yesterday's ride on Toby, I headed out with Tucker for a hack. Some places were better, some were still as bad. Regardless of the dicey footing we finished the trail in grand style and I was really happy with him. It was great to end on such a good note as I have the feeling the heavy rains are going to ruin riding for another 4-5 days.
I decided to give Chance a short training session. I had the saddle on and the bridle half on before I remembered the martingale. I decided it wasn't worth the bother. Besides, I still haven't punched the extra holes to shorten it so it has the proper effect.
As it turned out, we were fine without the martingale. As a matter of fact, I was really happy with the kid. The last time I rode him in the ring I had done a lot of trotting, working on the steering, particularly concentrating on keeping him from dropping onto his left shoulder.
Tonight that was not at all a problem. I think the last schooling session had taught him that carrying his own body straighter made him feel more secure, so the turns on both reins were pretty even. He is stiffer to the right bend and he still bops his head around as he tries to figure out how to keep his balance, but he has improved overall. When the weather moderates and I can work him more regularly, he is going to move along quickly. He is very clever and loves to be told he is a good boy.
All in all we schooled for about 15 minutes, which is more than enough for him at this point. Again, since he was so good, there was no point in drilling on any exercises.
Sometimes less is better and knowing when to quit is best.