Back in the Saddle....Again....
Lovely day with a breee rather than the wind, so I headed out to the barn.
I picked the riding arena first as the Boys wandered back out into the pasture. Then I went to collect someone, and, to my surprise, Toby headed over to me ready to be caught first. So, I saddled him up after a nice shedding blade grooming and took him out for a hack in the woods. He did shy a couple times, nothing big, but he was "on his toes" for the first part of the ride. Then, he settled down once we were partway through the woods road.
I rode Tucker in the arena next. I started off at the walk, and eventually began to introduce the half pass. It didn't take him long to figure out what to do. I moved into a little bit of trot and quickly began a canter warm up. Since the canter is the gaits Thoroughbred's are bred for, using it as a warmup gait can often loosen a horse up. I do think it works with Tucker and I've started using it more and more. Back in the trot, I rode some suppling circles and worked up to the half pass. Tuck is much better going to the right, but today, he was really getting the concept of going left as well.
When a horse knows leg yield well, the half pass can be a bit confusing at first. The change of asking for the bend in the direction of movement requires more flexibility in the shoulder. Tuck's advantage is his brain. I can feel him thinking it through when a ride and tonight, he thought both right and left.
The canter was another matter. Again, Tuck found going right quite easy, but half pass left posed a problem. Then, on my second little bit of right, I realized I was a good part at fault. In concentrating so hard on the bend, I was actually blocking his left shoulder with my hand by using too much direct rein on that side. When I finally let go, he was much better. Not yet a master, but definitely moving laterally and starting a true half pass.
Once done with Tucker, I took Chance out in just a bridle to do some ground work exercises teaching him to yield to the bit. He is decided willfull and perfectly content to stand with pressure on his mouth, not making any effort to give in. Since I was using Kenny Harlow techniques, I just waited him out. I'm not sure how long we were out there, but finally, Chance began to lick and chew as he relaxed his jaw and neck to start some basic responses to the bit.
I will probably keep this up for a few days before I ride him again. Then, I'll do some of the same work from the saddle, hopefully solving the steering problems once and for all. Chance is more difficult than any other horse I have started which leads me to believe his initial training was less than ideal for his personality. He wants to please, but will also "turn off" if pushed too much. His turn off, unlike Tucker, is to either panic, or just keep going completely ignoring my efforts to bend, shape, or turn him.
Finished up with a night at choir rehearsal. I have three solo bits coming up for Palm Sunday and Easter. One is an Easter solo I wrote, so that will be fun. The other ones are with the choir, providing another kind of fun.
The only trouble is, my voice was tired out by the end of rehearsal.
Guess I need to keep quiet now....so I will......