My friend Stacie came over to ride Sunday, yesterday. She and Toby really do get on well. Or let's put it this way, as Stacie says, Toby really does tell her how he wants to be ridden!
She had been having trouble riding his right lead canter as any shift in her body weight would make him do a flying change. With a horse as quick and sensitive as he is to the aids, the rider really needs to make clear exactly what she wants and then be careful not to change course too much along the way.
Stacie not only worked out the lead issue but also managed some really nice counter canter work on the right lead as well. Counter canter is a great exercise for both horse and rider and it focuses on the holding the correct lead with the correct aids even though you are going in the opposite direction. She really did a lovely job of riding him.
Meanwhile, I was "discussing" with Tucker the concept of really being able to go forward while on the bit. I still think this is the best approach for getting him correct. If he warms up on a long rein, perfectly happy to go forward, then, when I try to put him in the frame, he tries to drop to his forehand or tries to drag out of the contact. If he starts off in the frame, he is not happy about using his back, but the later work, once he figures it out, is better. This is, as Muriel has pointed out, more the French school than the German, but it does seem to suit Tucker better.
When my trainer, Gabriel, rode him, he adopted the slower gait cadence and worked Tucker in balance rather than forward, so perhaps it is the training method I need to work on for a while.
After the two big boys were done, I "volunteered" Stacie to ride Chance. She did so readily, though I am hoping she won't be too sore today. She spent the whole session just insisting he go forward, as he does tend to be lazy. Again, she did a super job of riding him, so I hope some of the lessons she taught stick.
Her boy, Lucky, is still lame and right now the prognosis is not good that he will ever be a riding horse again. His ankle, where the dead bone was removed, has chronic inflammation and he has developed other body issues as a result of both the lameness and the long layoff. However, she is working with a top notch acupunture/chiropractic vet who has all kinds of alternative remedies and great hopes that he can get Lucky pasture sound so he may retire in the love and luxury Stacie will give him. He really is a sweet horse who deserves it.
Meanwhile, Stacie is welcome to ride Toby whenever she wants. She may also be in the market for a new horse of her own, but she needs to take her time. She is a good rider who should have a nice horse to show. For now, "The Tobester" can fill in just fine until she is able to find something suitable and within her budget.