Back in the Saddle
Nice day, even though the forecast predicted showers. Mid 40's, although it did feel cooler until I started to ride.
Tucker was first on the agenda, and he offered a balk twice, but it was easily cured with my persistence. The second one was in reaction to a sharp half halt, so that one might be excusable. The others seemed to be related to some kind of silly conviction that something in the arena was going to eat him, or at least nibble.
His canter departs were lovely and his trot work strong, so I excused the little problems. I think the stops were more out of habit than reason and I was very aggressive at correcting them. Tuck did not protest too much and never felt as if he were going to explode.
We've been working on the reinback and Tuck has been resisting after the first two steps. Today, the first attempt was kind of ugly with his head tossing in protest. But then, he finally yielded and gave me four really nice steps, so I praised him mightily and trotted right off. A bit later, I stopped again and asked for another reinback. This one was lovely from the start. I again made a big fuss over him and trotted off. Then I tried one more and it too was excellent, so I immediately stopped, dropped the reins and dismounted, telling Tuck what a wonderful boy he was.
Chance was next. I rode at the walk for a bit, working on getting him to step to the outside rein. He tends to fall in on his shoulder, so shaping him this way is really important to developing reliable steering and his "on the bit" stretch. He was pretty cooperative, after realizing that he had to pass the gate to the woods without going out on a hack.
Then I picked up the trot and was able to get him more and more steady in both the bend and reach for the bit. Since the steering was good, I took the risk and asked for the canter.
First strike off on the right was on the left lead. Second was on the left lead and then....he took the right lead and allowed me to push his canter all the way around the circle. I reversed and again asked for canter (this is both my saying "canter" and giving a driving aid) . Off we went on the left lead for a full circle and a bit more.
Enough! I trotted him up the center line, halted and dismounted, lavishing praise on him for his efforts.
On the way back into the barn, Tucker attacked and tried to bite Chance. I gave him a rap with my dressage whip and chastised him for being so jealous. Guess that is going to be an issue as time goes on. *sigh*
Toby let me catch him pretty easily. I rode him in the arena for a short session and he felt really energetic and forward, so I guess he is getting fitter as time goes on. I do miss his big bulky muscles, but at his age, I doubt he will ever get them back. He has a leaner look than when he was competition fit and a more angular appearance. Age has had its effect. Wonder why people don't lean up as they get older?
After the work session, we went out on a hack around the field. I let Toby stop a good number of times to graze on the grasses at the edge of the dirt road. I know I have spoiled him terribly by letting him browse as we ride, but I figure he deserves it. And, it makes him more interested in going out to get some exercise.
So, I now have three horses with three gaits. Fun!