After a "Day" At School
I subbed today, but ended up able to leave school about an hour early because the teacher I was in for did not have classes the last periods of the day.
The only downer about this was that the swimming pool did not open until an hour later, so I had a choice. Either I stayed there and waited for the pool, or I came home to work the Boys. Horse lovers out there will be pleased to know I opted to work the Boys.
Frankly, after all the work I did yesterday, I was rather muscle sore, so I decided to lunge instead of ride.
I really like lungeing because I can watch my horses move and evaluate their gaits and attitude. I say "attitude" because both Tucker and Chance certainly have one.
Tucker does not exert himself unless persuaded and then, he acts insulted if I snap the whip at him to get more "forward." He also likes to drop his head really low---talk about "down and round"---in both the trot and canter. Sometimes that leads to a buck at the canter, or a playful strike at the lunge line with his front leg. He will also look for any excuse to spook. Then, he'll gallop off for a few strides before settling back to a more steady gait. His jumping is wonderful, but he also likes to see if he can catch me off guard and run around the jump rather than go over it. A little verbal lecture is usually all it takes to correct him, but he never really gives up testing my attention.
Chance also lacks forward on the lunge, but is much easier to persuade with a snap of the whip. (Mind you, I do not hit the horse, I make the whip "Snap" with a quick flick instead.) Keeping him in the trot when I press him forward is the biggest challenge. He has an easy, "rocking chair" canter and it's his favorite gait. Sometimes, it's so slow motion, he hardly makes any headway around the circle. Again, I can chase him pretty easily, but his notion of "how to canter" does make me laugh. He's pretty honest about the jumping, but today he did run out to the outside twice on the right rein. That's the direction he pulls out on anyhow, so it was pretty easy for him to evade. The jump was set at around two feet, so it was a little bit of effort to get over it unless he had some impulsion. However, "impulsion" is not in Chance's everyday work ethic vocabulary. "Relaxed" is, so his casual approach to a fence can make the jump more up and down then "over."
But, the fact is, I do like the way both Boys jump. I know I 've said this before. Toby--whom I did not lunge today--has a huge, athletic jump with impulsion, power, and exuberance. Of the three, he is probably the most talented over a fence, but that is not always the easiest to ride.
Like Chance and Tucker, I prefer a much more "laid back" approach to a fence. But that's one of the reasons I became a dressage rider.