Three on the Lines
The main title says it all. And who was the good horse? Toby, of course. Once again, he was master of the long lines. Quick to the voice commands, correct to the bit and rein aids, and a joy to behold. He is, however, shedding the most of the little herd, so he left piles of chestnut horse hair all over the floor.
Tucker was up next and while he was not exactly bad, I wouldn't exactly call him a star either. He started off totally lacking impulsion, forward, or anything resembling energy. When I flicked him on with the whip, he cantered off, just as not forward as the trot had been. Then, he kept trying to put his head down too far, or overflexing to the bit, mostly because he wasn't forward.
Finally, I got him going with some energy and he did get start carrying himself, but it was rather erratic. He was correct, overbent, correct, not on the bit, correct, overbent. So, I sent him off into a canter and really got him going forward. Then I started some canter/trot transitions, sending him back into the canter every time he overflexed at the trot. That seemed to do the trick and I had some nice work on the left rein.
Reversed, asked for the trot and he took off in a mad canter. Well, that surely was forward. And, there was no point in trying to do much more than keep some modicum of control over where he was going until he settled down himself. It was one of those "Thoroughbred things," ripping around in a gallop totally oblivious to most of the rest of the world.
I do have to admit that after the gallop was over, he did give me some nice work on the right rein. On the bit, forward, and fairly steady.
Chance was decidedly downhill from there. He started out fairly reasonably, but kept cantering off on the right lead instead of keeping the trot. He was super sensitive to my commands, so I had to keep it low key. Then, on the right rein, his difficult one, he decided to throw a tantrum. He slung his head up, tossing it over to the left, up and down until the leather holding the ring onto the surcingle gave way and the right rein was totally loose. At that point, he seemes quite pleased and stopped tossing his head around. So, I stopped him, ran the rein in a vee through one of the more solid rings and set him back out on the circle. He wasn't too happy about that, but finally settled down to work with his head lower and stretching into the bit.
I swapped directions, set the left rein in a similar vee and in short order had some pretty nice work on that rein after he tested out the rigging and found it just wasn't going to give. I finished up with a few more circles to the right, not quite as good as the left, but finally in a nice little frame and took him in.
Then, as I was trying to put him on the crossties, he suddenly "forgot" how to back up. Even my leaning on him with my hand did not make him step backwards. So I picked up the dressage whip and used the handle to cue him on the chest. That worked for two times until he decided to start tossing his head around again, fighting my control over the bit. I finally bopped him on the nose with the handle and told him to just cut it out. He startled for a stride, then surrendered, accepted the bit and backed three or four more times.
Obviously, my little Chance man is testing me. He has his own opinion about things and seems to think if it disagrees with my opinion it's worth a fight. I don't think there's a mean bone in his body, but he just wants to have his own way.
Can't say he doesn't have an ego!