I figured it was time to try riding again. I started off with Chance as doing a half halt with him is essentially unnecessary because he simply has no clue....yet. *G*
Chance is still basic walk, trot, canter with the head wherever it needs to be, at least at the canter. I the trot he actually is stretching down into the bit fairly consistently. It is far from perfect, but a really good start. And, even with all the time since his last ride, he seems to be remembering. His trot starts out a little "rough" and not quite in rhythm. As we worked, it got better and better.
I am pretty sure he is a horse that needs regular work to reach his potential. So if I do decide to make him a potentially competitive dressage horse, I have a lot of riding ahead of me. If I just want to "play" with him, that's a different story. Hopefully as he learns better to carry himself, his rhythm will just fix itself. He does have a nice canter and once he learns to go round in it instead of using his head and neck for balance, it will be even better.
Once done with Chance, I saddled up Tucker. Having watched Gabriel ride him, I decided to be a litle softer with the driving aids. We did have a few "stops" but the first ones were a result of his not understanding my half halt, thinking I wanted a full halt. Oooops. Guess I needed to be more subtle.
The only big "deal" of the ride was the right lead canter depart. He tried the same evasions he used with Gabriel--a kick out, swinging his haunches to the outside, and generally "squirming." I persisted, not by getting stronger, but just by repeating the aids and finally he cantered. Once he was in the gait, he felt absolutely fine and offered several up and down transitions with little protest. I don't know if the depart itself hurts or if he is just anticipating that it will hurt.
The left lead was easy and soft in the depart, as was the gait itself. At the end of the session, I switched back to the right, did two more departs and then let him trot around on a long stretchy rein.
I was wearing my back brace and so far, so good. I didn't overdo, so I should be OK.
I lunged Toby for 10-15 minutes to end the evening. I'd considered taking him out for a hack, but the mosquitoes were out in full force and I was too lazy to tack him up and deck him out in the bug armor.
School is out at 1:30 tomorrow so we can go back in the evening for Parents' Night/Open House. The day is supposed to be pretty nice so I'm hoping I can ride in the afternoon. If so, Toby will go out in the woods to nibble leaves. And if the bugs don't bother him, I may take Chance and Tucker out too.