Or With a Thoroughbred is That an Oxymoron?
I collected Toby first for a ride thinking, because of the mosquitoes, that I'd ride the dirt road between the farm fields. The road parallels my pasture fence at some distance, then turns right, eventually ending up across from the end of my pasture, but again at a good distance.
Now, mind you, Toby has done this ride dozens and dozens of times. I ride the length of the road, then turn around a ride back for a total of about 15 minutes. If I let him graze on the farmyard grass (the road ends at the farmhouse up the road from me) it's a bit longer, but it's just a little relaxing hack.
Not tonight. Tucker and Chance were out in the pasture--where Toby had left them and where they usually are. When we were partway along the last leg of the dirt road, he looked across the field and saw them! He's seen them before. Tonight, they must have been wearing Halloween costumes or something. Up when his head, over went his body and he got that dreadful bounce in his back presaging a buck. He was starting to bounce around, totally absorbed in the fact that there were other HORSES on the horizon. What was Toby thinking? Who did he think they were? He was going into frenzy mode.
I had no choice. I dismounted. I know far too well that I simply cannot sit his bucks. Good thing. I had a heck of time trying to lead him back home as he was spinning around me, totally fixated on those HORSES in the pasture. It was ridiculous.
Once we'd hiked home, I climbed back into the saddle and started to ride him in the arena. Suddenly, Tucker and Chance came galloping into the arena at top speed--I'd not closed the gate--Toby simply stood there and looked at them as they charged past. I guess he finally recognized them. *sigh* Somehow, I managed to herd them back out, close the gate and then put in nice little work session with the senior member of the little happy herd.
I rode Tucker next, and just kind of played around with him, testing his responses to my aids. We did shoulder-in, half-pass and turns on the haunches at the walk. Then I went right to canter and did a series of repeated half halts, then canter walk canter transitions over and over on each lead, focusing on keeping him light to the rein and equally light to the leg. Then, I picked up the left lead, encouraged some quality and did a half circle reverse to the rail, asking for a flying change. There it was, front and back, lovely and controlled. I dropped back to a walk after a few strides, praising him mightily.
I wish I could say the effort from right lead to left was as successful, but it will be fairly soon. The touble, I think, is that he does not have the same balance or ability to carry himself on the right lead and tends to try to drop to his forehand. Again, this is the side with the weaker stifle, so I really do have to build him up before I can expect more from him. It's just going to take some time and strength.
I did a little trot work which, after all the cantering was really quite nice with a round, light, bouncy feel to it.
I thought about riding Chance but opted out. I think I need to build my own strength and fitness as well.
Interesting night...I think...even if Toby didn't.