But Before Darkness Fell....
I managed to ride Tucker in the ring for about 20 minutes of trotting before going out in the woods for a lovely little hack.
He was far less resistant today and after only one minor false start, moved into the canter pretty willingly. As well, he only gave a minimal protest before trotting off, so I am guessing he is feeling either physically better or mentally more confident that he can do work without hurting. I cantered for twice as long as yesterday on each lead and he felt fine. Again, I am shortening his frame and asking him to carry himself somewhat, but still have not really challenged him to the upper level frame. That will come again when I feel his muscles are strong enough to allow him to do it without risking the stifle.
Tuck was both eager and relaxed on the hack. There were some hunters in the far field poised for the deer to come out to feed, but I may have scared them all back into the deeper forest. Fine by me. I hate to think of any animal being killed, for whatever reason. I will not deliberatly interfere with a hunter, and I will always wish them well when I meet them in the woods, but if their prey escapes, that's just fine with me.
I had just recieved my new lunging surcingle so I wanted Toby to be the first horse to wear it and he did so proudly, working like his usual perfect self in the ring of light created by the two working lights in my riding ring. (I called my electrician today and will have to hound him about this, but I need a better lighting system.) I had some trot poles set up and Toby was heading for them on his own. What can I say about the longlining master? He is just too good for words.
I long lined Chance as well, veeing the lines onto the upper rings at first, but then deciding into the session, that putting them on the lower ring encouraged him to stretch "out" and to the bit rather than "up" into the bit. Once he did the lower stretch he relaxed his back much more and his stride was longer and slower. I did have to shorten the distance between the trotting poles for him. Even though he does have a good length stride, the hand difference in height and his shorter legs were, at the moment, having trouble negotiating the distance I had set for Tucker and Toby. He did manage it a few times, but more often, he was taking a "baby stride" between the last two poles to avoid hitting the poles. I moved them less than a foot closer to each other and he was fine.
Chance did get a little tired at the end of the session, something I am not used to with my Thoroughbreds. They seem to keep going no matter what. Chance breaks his gait and slows WAY down. It is one more interesting contrast between him and the big boys.
Watching him canter on the lines does encourage me to try a bit more under saddle as he has a nice neat canter with pretty good natural balance.
I am so lucky to have such good horses. They may not be the most breathtaking movers, but they are really fun to train. Even with the challenges Tucker has offered, he has been a good horse to train.
Who needs a "10" mover when you can ride a "10" personality?