Moderating weather thawed the ring nicely.
Stacie came over for the afternoon, so everyone got ridden. She rode Toby while I worked Tucker. I must say, Toby was going really well for her and seemed quite energetic had happy to be working. She may want to take a lesson on him when Gabriel comes down. In the meantime, she is finally figuring out how to ride him effectively.
The trick is that Toby is very flexible through his body and very responsive to every aid. If Stacie puts her leg too far back, his hind end will move sideways. Or, at the canter, he will give her flying changes. With him, the idea is to ride him in one piece, but really concentrating on the outside rein and keeping him forward with a steady, even seat and legs only active when needed. With him, "less is better," even when you do want a half pass, shoulder in, or flying change. She was really getting a handle on it all today.
Tucker was "interesting" to say the least. At first he didn't really want to walk forward. But then when I asked for trot, he marched happily off. By and large, he was fine except for two of his sudden stops, when he goes from trot to halt without warning. The first time, I managed to get him going fairly quickly, but the second time, he started one of his little tantrums as I sat there wiggling my legs and tapping him with the whip. Then I said, "Trot," and off he went. It was as if he didn't understand that I wanted him to move off. As the ride progressed, I added voice aids and he was fine. Now, I know he knows the leg aids...or at least has been responding to them in the past...so what's up with that? Either something has totally confused him, or he never really did understand the leg meant, "go." I will be using my voice commands for a while as I ride to see if it makes a difference.
We finished up by taking the "big boys" out for a short hack and I am happy to report that even with Toby as company, Tucker was a perfect gentleman in the woods. I did have him lead, which seemed fine with Toby, so it worked out well for both of them.
"Back at the ranch," we saddled up Chance and I rode him first for a while. Stacie took some pics, so I finally can see how I look on him. My stirrups were several holes too short as this was the length Stacie had been riding in when she was on Toby. As a result, I am a bit too far back in the saddle and my leg is too far forward. But, I don't look too big on him, do you think?
After I rode, Stacie got on and worked him for a bit. I must say, he looks far steadier and more schooled than he feels when I am on him . Even in the picture above, he looks better than he feels. Watching him go with a rider, I was very pleased. He isn't going to be a dramatic mover but the word "cute" certainly fits how he goes.
More potential there than I suspected....if I can only get his tail to grow!!
Stacie riding Chance. She is a bit shorter than I am. She did a beautiful job on him.