And the Return of the "Magic" Ball
I played with Tucker and the ball the other day. He really understands about pushing it with his nose and is getting better and better at it. The only flaw it that he is also very focused on getting a treat afterwards, and tends to crowd me to make sure I give him one. We'll have to work on that.
Chance doesn't seem to get the concept of pushing the ball yet, but I haven't worked with him alone in the arena as Tucker has also been in there, kind of hogging the attention. I will do some individual work next time I go out to see if Chance can get the idea. He doesn't actually pay much attention to the ball when I push it at him and just sees it as "something in the way." Nice that he's not spooky, but curious that he doesn't interact.
Toby still thinks the ball is a "monster." *sigh*
I left the ball outside overnight and in the morning, it was gone from the arena! I found it up against the fence in the pasture. Accidentally blown by the wind? H-m-m-m. One suspects not, but with no proof, it's hard to say. *S*
I rode Tucker and Chance yesterday. It was lovely and warm again.
It took Tucker a few moments to "get into gear" when I started off. As soon as I picked up contact, he balked. But just a little persuasion convinced him to walk off. He kept wanting to trot, though, so I kept the walk warm up short and then trotted off. At first I kept the rein long, just letting him stretch out into the bit. But as we worked, I gradually shortened the contact so we could maneuver better. We did a little shoulder in, some half pass, serpentines, a modified Intro level test pattern, and then some spiral in and spiral out on a twenty meter circle. He stalled on the right rein in the spiral in. I'm not sure if he was a little tired at that point--he was getting very forward and we were about 15 minutes into the ride--but it was relatively easy to fix. I did a canter depart with about one circle of canter on each lead, then trotted up the center line for a really lovely square halt. 20 minutes for an unfit horse and an unfit rider were just fine.
Tucker is really taking a lot of contact. That's good and bad. But for now, as long as I can contain the energy, I'd rather have that than stuck and not going at all. I'll just have to see how much he can actually rock back on his hocks and carry himself more as time goes on. If it makes him sore, we'll just stick to playing dressage instead of actually working at it.
I rode Chance next. I have to give him some slack because I still didn't fix his bridle with the single joint bit. He was very fussy with his head, but I didn't accept it completely. My goal was to get transitions from walk to trot and back down without his tossing his head or coming up off the bit. It took a little doing. He would walk nicely into the rein, but as soon as I asked for the upward transition, up went his head and down went his back. I'm pretty quick at correcting things, so it only took a stride to get him back, but a stride was one too many. We took it slowly and methodically and eventually, I had at least two moderately good transitions on each rein. We cantered about a circle on each lead, mostly because Chance much prefers canter to trot, and then finished up with a nice walk to cool out. Once again, it was about 20 minutes of work all told.
It's amazing how time flies when I am in the saddle concentrating on accomplishing one goal or another. I have to watch the clock to make sure I don't overdo for either the horse or me. I easily could have kept going with Chance on those transitions as I still had a number of options in my "bag of tricks" to improve them, but I'm satisfied with the progress so far.
Next time, though, he will be in his bridle with the bit he prefers.
The right equipment always makes a big difference.