Will It Continue?
I was lovely and cool again at 6:30 AM, so out I went to ride.
I worked Tucker first. I started off riding on a long rein and eventually worked up to a mock training level test pattern, just to do something different. Then I collected up the reins. We had a moment or two of stuck protest before he realized he could actually walk while on the bit and then everything settled back in.
After a few basic exercises, I rode a mock first level test with some trot lengthenings, ten meter trot circles, canter lengthenings, 15 meter canter circles, change of rein through the trot, and leg yields at the trot. I added a halt and reinback for good measure. It wasn't half bad. Might have earned a decent score in the show ring.
Then I worked a little more at the canter, eventually working on the canter/walk/canter simple changes. Still, for the first two changes, I have to use a lot of hand, but once he realizes I actually expect him to walk, I can basically just use a soft half halt with my hand on the outside rein and then use my seat for the downward. Again, not half bad. Might have earned some decent scores in the show ring.
After I sponged off Tuck, I saddled up Chance. He was definitely better than yesterday and less likely to fall in on that left shoulder. There is still a difference between left and right, but I have worked on that with nearly every horse I have ever ridden so it's no big deal. I just have to concentrate on sitting on my inside seatbone, getting "long" on the inside leg, and not using the inside indirect rein to correct him. Goofed up on all counts this morning, but I fixed myself as well, so there is hope on the horizon.
I decided to try a mock training level test, just to see what happened. Chance's head does go down at the canter a little now and then--more each day--but I didn't worry about that. All I wanted was the obedience. Because he tends to want to slip into the run-in shed at times when he passes, I decided to do the 20 meter canter circles at B and E with the departs on the straight side each time. This was daring, as getting the correct lead just from an aid, without a corner to encourage the bend is a challenge.
Well!! I am delighted to say, Chance took each lead correctly from one leg cue as well as any trained horse I have ever ridden!! I was really pleased. I praised him mightily, finished up the test and called it a day.
What a good kid he is! Right now, I could show him in the Intro walk/trot classes if I wanted to. Within a month--weather permitting--he could be ready to show training level. Cool...or I wish it were cool.
Since it was still shady, I "asked" Toby if he wanted to do anything and he dropped his head into the halter so I took him out for, as promised" a quick lunge. It was just enough to get him moving in all three gaits to tone up his muscles a little more. He does have that lean, older horse look to him now with a sharp wither. Since I stopped serious schooling he has lost a lot of his former muscling and his neck has lost most of its crest. While I miss seeing those bulges, I am still pleased with how sound he is. Perhaps all the dressage training has made a difference to his overall physcial well-being. I hope so.
The heat is really on with temperatures way up in the 90's. It's supposed to stay this way through the weekend.
I will be going for a swim in a bit. I might have gone earlier in the day, but I got preoccupied with a few little projects. And, my carpenter dropped by to look at the pillars on my front porch. For some reason, one of them is rotting on the bottom and will have to be replaced. That means both of them will need replacing. He is going to get me some prices to see what can be done.
Home ownership is such fun.