But All Is Relative
Chance was not at his best today, but behavior wise, his "bad" is nothing compared to Tucker's. For Chance, "bad" is tossing his head and cranking on the bit.
Granted, there were some flies out there, and at one point, when I dismounted to see if something was wrong with the bridle, I saw a B52 buzzing around and landing on him. Now had that been Tucker, I would not have dismounted on my own, but been tossed to earth. So that is high score for Chance in the bug department.
I did get some good work in between the head tosses, so I accomplished something. Since he was so fussy, I will chalk it all up to the bugs and give him a pass. I may go out later in the evening, to lunge him, just to build up some more fitness. If we have a lesson this weekend, I want to take him and I need to know he has a bit more stamina.
He really has progressed in keeping his head down and reaching for the bit at the canter, so I tried a number of trot/canter/trot transistions. Let's just say they need a lot of work. On the other hand, they are much better than they were a week ago, so progress continues. If we can just get rid of the flying distractions, we might actually get somewhere.
Tucker was actually quite interesting. Since I had the Ansur Elite and Konklusion here for the demo yesterday, I decided I'd like to ride in each to see how they felt. I saddled Tuck up in the Elite first. This saddle is designed for the hunter/jumper rider in the show arena. It has a very "flat" saddle feel and is also quite close contact. I liked the balance and overall feel. It tends to put you in a foward seat position, but I could easily do a sitting trot and felt my position was good. I did not put in any of the optional knee rolls, but if I were planning on doing any jumping, I probably would, although when I did show jumpers, I was perfectly fine in a saddle with minimal knee rolls.
Then I tried the Konklusion, which is Ansur's cross country saddle. Since I have an older model this saddle was familiar to me. However, after riding in the Elite, I did not like it as much. For me, cross country jumping needs a shorter stirrup length... mine were too long, and more of a feel of being "behind" the horse with your two point. It is difficult to explain, but generally on a cross country course, you never want to lose your security by riding too far in forward seat. The Konklusion definitely gives that feel. But, to my surprise, it was not as comfortable as the Elite.
As for Tucker, he seemed very happy to go forward in the Elite and cantered right off when I cued. In the Konklusion, he did not seem as forward, and when I asked for canter, he laid his ears back and gave me an "attitude." If it was not a fly bothering him, then it was the balance of the saddle. Since I had "told" him we were just doing a test ride, perhaps, he was "telling " me which saddle he preferred.
To be fair, I then switched him over to the Excel dressage saddle. While he was a little less quick to the canter cue than he had been in the Elite, he was fine once again. Kind of interesting. I am sure, all things being equal, he would be quite content to be a hunter/jumper instead of a dressage horse. But, since he has to do what I want him to do, dressage in an Excel seems to be OK too. However, I will think about trying to make my seat lighter when I ride him to see if that makes any difference. I don't really drive a lot with my seat unless I have to, but I can be very light if I need to. Perhaps riding in a jumping saddle has taught me something about Tuck I needed to know.
All in all, an enlightening morning.