Into the Woods
I schooled Tucker in the ring for about 15 minutes pushing the envelope to get him into a fairly "up" frame in a short amount of time. Once again he performed like a champ, doing everything I asked with a postive effort. We did a number of canter, trot, canter tansistions, and, at the end a perfectly lovely halt, reinback (very straight and correct), to a trot transistion. At that beautiful moment, I stopped the session and headed out for a hack in the woods.
I really only do one trail with Tucker and that caused one interesting moment. Sometime since the last time we'd taken that path, a four foot tree stump had fallen over about 25 or so feet off the trail. I was totally oblivious of it until Tucker stopped and his eyes bugged out. Clearly, the tree stump fallen over was a new distraction/danger on "our" trail. When he finally decided he could move his feet again, he tried to swerve off the trail to the left by another several feet. Since I have no idea if there are any holes under all the fallen leaves, this was rather disturbing, so I had to correct him, pat him in assurance and convince him that walking along the defined trail--even if he did it sideways--was a much better option.
As I mentioned to Caroline on her blog, the tree stump was not really all that scary, but the fact that is was a NEW tree stump on an OLD trail seemed to give it a terrifying power far beyond its capacity to do any kind of damage to a 16.3 hand horse. *G*
I rode Toby in the ring for perhaps 10 minutes, once more showing Tucker the flying change as well as how to successfully naviagate the trotting poles no matter how badly we came into them. He again seemed quite interested in Toby's masterful demos, which was good.
Then "The Wobester" and I went out for a hack checking out the upper level trail near the trails to the Park lake in the back. He was his usual sensible self, quiet and pleased to be able to grab at greenery along the way and do a bit of grazing at the edge of the field.
Since it was still light, I saddled up Chance and did a variation on the trail I'd just ridden with Toby, basically doing it in the other direction. The only flaw in Chance's otherwise perfect performance is that he too now thinks snatching at tree leaves is an entertaining and rewarding pasttime. I had to keep redirecting him to the path as each time he'd snatch his whole body would head off after his mouth. Guess I am going to have to get stern with him, but it was so funny all I did was laugh at his efforts.
I trotted him in the ring for a few minutes after we got back home just to remind him of how to steer and do all that nice kind of obedient horse stuff. Frankly, he enjoys hacking so much I find it hard to spend time when it's so nice out doing any serious schooling. He is one spoiled youngster, I fear, and not yet trained as well as any of my other young horses have been at age 4. I have fallen for his charms and just let him get away with it.
With Tucker going so well, I am totally spoiled and Chance is reaping the benefits. His training is on the slow track and that's just fine with me.