Taking a Bit of a Chance
Excuse the pun, but the straight bar bit does still seem to Chance's liking. I rode him today in it and he dropped his head from the start. His trot work was pretty consistent, and more often than not, he reached for the bit in a rounding frame.
Of course that was in between his dives away from the paddock side of the arena fence where Tucker was galloping about, bucking, and then diving at us as we passed. I had to put Tuck in his stall so I could ride safely. (Now, mind you, this was exactly what Chance had done last week--minus the dive at the fence--while Stacie and I were riding Tuck and Toby.) Today, Stacie was on Toby, who was fine, while the "shoeless wonder" threw a tantrum on the outside. Chance was not getting riled up at all by Tuckers shenanigans, but the attacks when I rode past were causing some pretty ugly swerves.
Once Tucker was nestled in his stall with some alfalfa cubes, I could settle down to some serious riding.
Meanwhile, Stacie was having a bit of an issue with Toby who kept trying to do flying changes instead of keeping the canter lead she wanted. She made a couple sharp and appropriate corrections, and Toby started to lose it. I do have to admit she did have a nice series of one tempis going along the rail, but that was not what she wanted. I told her to just relax for a bit because I could see in his eye that Toby was frazzled. What he does then is just offer his rider absolutely every exercise he can possibly think of with no sense to it at all. Unlike Tucker, who stops, he just keeps going--doing everything.
Stacie did a super job of calming him back down. Then when she asked for the counter canter again on the right lead, there it was, nicely done. Riding Toby is a challenge. It is a balance between being strong and being subtle. I only know all this from having trained him since he was two, so "I've been there, done that." Stacie did a great job.
I am happy to report that I wasn't so bad myself with Chance. After some pretty good trot work with some fairly accurate steering, I decided to canter. Well, we managed several full circles on the left lead just fine! Then we took a break and managed two good circles on the right rein. But, he broke back to a trot before I wanted him to, so I decided to try another circle on the right. Error!! I should have stopped on the better note. We had two or three strike offs on the left lead before I managed to get him on the right and complete a circle with an extra lot of effort on my part. Stacie kept reminding me to sit up, which was good advice as I tend to kind of get up a little out of the saddle when I am encouraging a green horse like Chance to GO at the canter. Essentially, we finished on a good note.
I tried putting the boots on Tucker, but the one would not fit over his shoe, so I just gave up the idea of riding him. He was kind of cute and snuggly after we were done riding, so I think he felt a little left out. Hopefully the shoe will be back on tomorrow and I can give him his just due.
To you weather watchers, it is chilling off a little here--into the 40's with the forecast of rain. April still has her fickle side, even here in New Jersey, USA.