On a Nice Saturday
I had two good rides today.
Tucker was first and after a long and low warmup, I asked him to come up onto the bit and do some more serious work. He was a little sluggish at first and wanted to drop down onto his forehand, but some shoulder in got him stepping under better. Then I rolled into the canter and did a few transitions. He lightened up enough for me to practice a series of simple changes first on a figure eight and then on shallow half circles back to the rail. It did not drill him, or overschool because I know he is just coming off nearly three weeks of layoff. Still, I was quite pleased with the fact that he really hasn't lost much of the schooling I was working on before his gravel. It is now just a matter of getting his fitness and strength back up to par.
I rode Chance next and from the first asked him to walk down and round. He was little silly at the start and kept trying to rush off into the trot, but it didn't take long for him to settle into a nice round walk. Only then did I ask for trot and again, he stayed round.
He still takes a good hold of the right rein, and doesn't step as well to the left rein, but it is always getting better. When I wanted to canter, I simply gave the leg cue and he hopped right off on the correct lead in both directions. As usual, the right lead was a little less coordinated and just before I was going to stop, he fell into the trot, completely disorganized. This time I just pushed him back to canter without worrying if he was settled again. It wasn't pretty, but he took the lead, finished another half circle and then, on my cue, went back to trot. He was tossing his head and fussing with the bit at that point. I'm not totally convinced it is entirely because of a balance issue. Sometimes, I think he just decides he's had enough work and protests by flipping his head around. I gave him a sharp correction which seemed to surprise him, but he did have second thoughts and dropped back down to the bit.
The left lead was softer, but I do need to work on his bend in that direction. Again, it's a relatively easy fix. At the rate Chance is coming along, I would be likely to be able to compete at Training Level (walk/trot/canter) in mid summer if I wanted to. However, with the rising costs of gasoline and everything else, I doubt I'm going to show too much. It's no big deal to me anymore as a test of my own training, so unless I really feel I need to prove something, I will not likely be in the show ring.
Imagine, with Toby fit, I actually could have three horses to compete if I wanted to. Pretty cool.