Anyhow, you get the idea. Gabriel was delighted with Tuck. He said he felt wonderful. He was forward, responsive, good to the hand, and really was working well. He said he was a totally different horse than the one he had first ridden months ago and has made wonderful progress.
Tuck accepted all the half halts well, was excellent off the leg for any lateral work, and even , for an instant looked quite ready to offer a step or two of piaffe.
He really did look nice! Gabriel did a good session of trot and then moved into canter on the left lead. Again Tucker carried himself well and stayed correct to the bridle, accepting half halts and keeping nice and round. "He was a nice round ball," Gabriel said.
Then they changed rein and...ooopsie dooo!! Tucker kicked out and resisted taking the right lead. Gabriel corrected him gently and asked again, and Tucker became a little more upset and resistant. At that point, I said, "It's that stifle. He's probably tired and it's bothering him a little." We both agreed there was no point in pushing the issue since he had been so absolutely anglic up until that point.
Gabriel coaxed him into a nice trot on the right rein, then reversed and cantered off for one circuit on the lovely, soft, obedient left lead and called it a day. Neither one of us wanted to mess up an otherwise excellent ride by ending with a problem.
The right canter issue was exactly what happened when I rode Tucker early on in the "bringing him back to fitness" stage of the recent stifle soreness. Now, of course, because of my back, he lost a good week of fitness training as I could not even longe him. So I was not at all surprised.
What is clearly interesting is that Tucker is showing absolute honesty and willingness to go both forward and correctly as long as he feels OK. And he is very clear as well about not wanting to work when he is physically uncomfortable. Since I am pretty sure it is his stifle, as I have said, it is a problem I can cope with and, if need be, get some treatments from the vet that are not invasive and very effective. Right now, I will stick to legging him up with the hills and monitoring his attitude.
Meantime, after having watched him go today, I am delighted with his work ethic and his acceptance of the aids. He really did look easy to ride and Gabriel's repeated compliment on his improved level of training confirmed what I saw.
I am more than pleased. Guess I haven't been doing such a bad job after all. *G*