And There Was A Breeze
I waited until about 9 AM to ride. There was a lovely breeze and nearly half the arena was still in the shade when I started.
Tucker spooked a the run-in shed twice--once in each direction. I guess it looks different when I'm in the saddle. Silly boy. Actually he wasn't all that silly. We covered just about all the exercises: shoulder in, half-pass, reinback, lengthened trot, counter canter, simple changes, and some leg yield so well I only rode him for about 25 minutes. There isn't much point in drilling when he gets the concept on the first try. I suppose I could have done some canter lengthening, walk pirouettes, and haunches in too, but I had to save something for tomorrow.
Chance was next and he was very resistant on the right rein. I had this problem worked out, so I have two theories. One is that when I don't ride him for a few days he reverts to his old habits. The second is that sometimes, when he is on his own, he does something that makes him physically a little sore on the right hind. I am more inclined to the second idea because I also had a hard time getting him to take the right lead in the canter. In previous rides, this was no issue at all. Today, I could feel him falling in on his right shoulder and hind end, effectively blocking himself from being able to stride off on that lead. I had to really work him on the right rein, creating a bend to the inside with his haunches lined up under his body to finally get the lead. The best way to explain the concept is to get him straight on the right rein first and then develop the canter. Once he got going he was fine. Interesting problem, but something to definitely work on, and not too difficult to fix.
I rode Toby last, and since the sun was starting to heat thing up, I kept the session simple. Half pass, shoulder in, haunches in, ten meter circles, canter lengthenings and some tempi changes at three strides and two strides. Yes, simple. Toby makes every one of those exercises simple and he can do all of them while working in a relatively lower level frame.
Doing the exercises is not the secret of dressage. A trained horse can do most of that work on a loose rein. Doing the exercises with all the other requirements--engagement, balance, impulsion, straightness, collection...etc.--that's the secret.
If you are just catching up today, do read the post below for some really cool pictures of my new shed and the sky.