Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Missed Opportunity

But I Got Books!

I realized half way through the morning's church service that I still did not have enough copies of Macbeth (special version with a modern English "translation" alongside Shakespeare's text) for my Senior classes to use. There were at least two big bookstores within ten miles of the church so after the service I headed out.

I scored a bonanza with the books and missed Stacie who had dropped by the house hoping to be able to ride Toby. She hadn't planned on coming, but was in the area. I would have LOVED having her ride him and I would have LOVED the company. But it was not to be. We missed each other by about 25 minutes. I told her she should have just gone ahead and ridden, but I can understand why she didn't. Next time she'll know it's OK with me if she does.

That left me with a nice day and three horses.

Chance was first choice. At the walk, he was quite willing and ready to keep his head down, but each time I asked for trot, he dropped his back and threw up his head. I worked the transitions for a few minutes and finally managed to get a good one or two, and we settled into some trot work. The ground exercises are paying off. He bent to the right and for the most part was able to keep himself in a nice little frame.

Then, I decided to try some canter. He actually does canter off and aid and took the right lead immediately. But after about ten strides it trickled back to a trot and when I asked again, he took the left (wrong) lead. I corrected him, and nearly completed a full circle before trickle down again. I reversed, asked for the left lead, got it at once, cantered all the way around the arena and half again before I brought him back to the trot. Then I reversed to the right and we managed to canter all the way 'round on that lead as well.

However, when I brought him back to the trot he was once again falling in on his right shoulder. After a few frustrated attempts to correct him, I dismounted did some in hand work, remounted and, provided I REALLY sat long on my right seat bone, had him shaped correctly again on the right rein. I quit after a few circles and gave him a nice hug.

I rode Tucker next this time taking the "French" approach of insisting on collected frame right from the start. Of course, to Tuck, this was most annoying. He did the "Paws (pause) of protest" to start. Then he figured he might be able to walk off sideways. Finally, with a sigh of resignation, he walked off in the collected frame.

From there, the trot actually started off pretty well. He was a little annoyed by the restrictions, but trotted off.

Then we started canter. At first all was well, but when he fell out to the left and I gave a strong half halt to correct course, he stopped and threw another pawing tantrum. I kept nagging at him until he moved off again, and we finally had some good canter work.

I finished up with some trot halt/trot exercises when I realized his trot to halts were all falling on his forehand. I mixed up halt/rein back/trot with trot/strong half halt/halt/trot exercises until he began to understand he needed to stop on his hind end instead of his front. It's not quite solved yet, but we're getting there.

When I went to collect Toby for his ride, he decided to play "catch me if you can." I didn't feel like playing. Instead I gave Tuck and Chance some treats, then called them in for dinner. When Toby found out he wasn't getting fed, he changed his attitude and come over to me trying to get me to feed him too.

Instead, I put his bridle on, saddled him up and gave him a short school--well a ride, actually since he doesn't really need much schooling--in the arena. His flying changes are simply amazing and so much fun to ride.

Riding him was a good end to the day and to my Spring vacation.

Back to work tomorrow with all the books I need to teach Macbeth.


  1. I got stuck on the part where you said good weather. Where on earth is the weather good? I'm drowning in mud and snow and more mud here...

  2. Phew im just tired reading all that!

  3. the good weather starts with jean, tracey, then spreads out to the rest of the world....:-) or at least it seems to

    jean, i thought you normally let toby off if he didn't actually want to work?

  4. "At the walk, he was quite willing and ready to keep his head down, but each time I asked for trot, he dropped his back and threw up his head."

    Both of us today then - m e with George, exactly that! AND the paws of frustration from Jazz too :-)