Two for the Ride
Felt much more awake today. Good thing as school was as busy as ever.
Then, for some strange reason, I decided to do a little shopping after work. Spent some time trying on clothes at the mall, bought a few things I surely didn't really need, then decided to go get my hair cut.
It was a rather warm day, bordering on hot, so I figured I'd wait to ride until later in the evening. Actually, I didn't go out to ride until around 8 PM. It was really cool and lovely out there. I saddled up Tucker first and rode him without the ring lights for the first half my my schooling session. He was really a good boy. I put him on the bit from the start with minor protest on his part and then he bounced off into a nice forward trot that only got better as we continued. I did serpentines, circles, shoulder-in and haunches in. Then worked the shoulder-in, ten meter circle, haunches in. Tuck has a little difficulty doing the haunches in on the left rein, the same side he finds challenging for the half-pass. I suspect moving his right hind leg over and under might be a little hard for him as that's the stifle he was sore on. I think it's just a matter of strength and suppling, though, so I'll just take it slowly.
Then I walked him on a long rein and put the ring lights on. When I picked up the rein again, he protested, but it was short lived. Again, he trotted off with a bounce. I had decided I'd finish with a few figure eights at the canter with a simple change or a one trot stride change. I didn't quite expect what finally happened. When we crossed the center line, he felt so balanced I decided to try a flying change. I just gave a little tap with my whip when I asked and suddenly, there it was!! Not perfect by any means, as he came off the bit, but it was a solid flying change, left lead to right. It was soft and relaxed. I cantered on a few more strides, brought him down to walk, and with a ton of praise for a job well done, dismounted and gave him a big hug.
I think the changes are really going to be easy for him. The simple change is getting pretty solid as he drops right to walk from canter and, as always, picks up the new lead without any trouble. That may have made the difference with the flying change, but we will see. One "fly" does not tempi changes make.....*G*
I saddled up Chance next after spraying him with the "evil, scary" fly spray which, to my delight was almost no trouble at all. I am so glad because I had just started to get him settled into accepting the spray last fall and hadn't used a sprayer on him all winter, so he must have remembered his lessons.
From the first stride, he was down on the bit and a nice little starter dressage frame (Training Level here in the USA.) But even better....he stayed there!! He was really steady on the bit, in a nice forward trot. What a pleasure!! I asked for just a little canter and things got a bit messy on the left rein at the depart, mostly because he didn't respond to my leg aids. Duh!!! When I asked on the right lead and added the word, "canter" to the aid, the depart was almost instantaneous. He's not quite able to keep his little frame at the canter yet, but he's not far from it. I was actually surprised as I hadn't ridden him for several days. Apparently he must do some thinking during his time off because he improves every time I ride him. I honestly felt tonight that I could have competed in good standing in a walk-trot starter class with him, he was that solid.
I am very excited about Chance right now. He may end up in the show ring yet!
I was awed with the way all three Boys looked tonight. Their coats are absolutely gleaming--and that's with minimal grooming. I don't know if the feed I've changed them to has anything to do with it, or if I just forget from year to year how wonderful they look after shedding their winter coats.
I love my Boys.
Oh, yes, as I was feeding Chance his carrot and blocking the stall door so Tucker couldn't go in to steal it, Tuck's head went up and he headed for the arena where the lights were still on. I caught a glimpse of something running across the sand...something with a white plume of a tail. I do suspect it was a fox, rather startled to find itself in the "spotlight!!" I had to laugh at Tuck. When I went out to the arena, he came right along behind me as if to say, "I saw it. Did you? Do you think we can find it? You stay in front, I'll watch your back."