And Chance is Sound!
I rode all three Boys today.
Though Chance was second up, I'll report on him first as he is the best story. While I was a bit naughty to tack up as he didn't like the fly wipe and broke the cross tie, once I had him in the arena, he was a good boy. My primary goal was to find out if I could feel any kind of unsoundness or unevenness--something my eye might not pick up. He felt perfectly good in both directions. Even better, some of the previous lessons seemed to have actually taken hold and he was reaching down to the bridle for most of the ride. He bent to both sides equally, and kept a nice steady little trot for perhaps 10 minutes of work. I must say, all in all, I was really delighted with him, especially after the long layoff.
I rode Toby first because when I approached him with the halter, he actually seemed pleased to put his head into it. We had a nice short work session with a warm up and a ride through first level test 3. USEF has changed the tests just enough from last year to be confusing, but I think I have it sorted out. The nice thing is that the first canter/trot/canter transition is right to left instead of left to right as it was last time. Not that I mind, but the transition was the same in both tests 3 & 4 so it did get kind of repetitious. Now we have a little variety. And the right to left on Tucker is a little bit better--not much but I would like to be able to show it. Of course, on Toby, it's no issue at all unless we get a lovely flying change instead of trot. *G*
Tucker was third up. He started off well until I tried to get him to bend right. He was stiff as a board. Then I glanced down and saw that I had accidently fastened the noseband over the bit on that side. Ugh. Once I sorted that out, he was fine. I need to get him a bit more reliable on the left rein as he doesn't always "take it" as well as the right, but otherwise, all the work was essentially good.
As I rode through test 3 on him, I just concentrated on using the outside rein, especially for all the turns. His canter lengthenings were really coming along. The biggest mess was the free walk on a long rein back to the medium walk. The change started fine and then halfway across the arena, he quit, wouldn't go forward at all and finally reared--or more of a levade as he only brought his front feet off the ground by about two feet. Once I finished the rest of the test, I went back to that set of movements starting with the lengthened trot to the halt. Wow! He gave me a lovely elevated lengthening. The walk tour was just fine as well, so hopefully, the resistance was just a temporary tantrum.
Short sessions for everyone, but for the Thoroughbreds, that's just fine. They muscle up fast and Tucker is pretty fit already. Chance will take longer to get into shape, but there is no rush. We have no big plans. He's just here for fun...for now.