It was a lovely day, so I decided to ride Tucker for a little school in the arena.
Mind you, he has not been ridden for several weeks, so expecting the perfect horse was not part of my agenda. All I was hoping for was a bit of trot with a little contact and perhaps some canter, just for fun.
Well, we started out in "backwards" mode with Tucker not exactly going forward. Not that he didn't trot right off for me, but there was hardly any energy at all. However, I continued to make some large patterns of diagonal crosses of the arena and twenty meter circles just letting him get his muscles warmed up a bit.
All was well as, gradually, he began to gain some impulsion on his own. But the key to warming up many a Thoroughbred is the canter. It's the gait these horses were bred to do, and Tucker is no exception. He has a a naturally balanced, cadenced canter.
So we cantered. Again, all was well until, just before I was ready to transition back down to trot--he tried to take off with me, and, in the process offered to give me some ever increasing bucks.
Bless my reaction time, as I pulled up his head, gave him a strong shout, of, "No!! Stop it!" and we managed to settle back into a controlled gait again.
Now, he may have spooked at something rustling in the woods, but I'm not so sure about that. I only defend him slightly because the next time we reached that spot at the trot, he tried the same maneuver with a little less success.
I must admit, after the mini-"almost" explosion, his trot was well forward and full of energy. He was strong to my hand, but that's kind of OK, since I could control where we were going and in what shape. I worked him with some shoulder-in, leg yield, and a bit of half pass. Then, to satisfy myself, we cantered a little more on each rein with no nonsense and then settled to a nice walk to finish the ride.
I suppose, on one hand, lungeing first in this kind of weather might be a good idea, but the fact is that lungeing has never actually settled Tucker down. If anything, it just encourages his energy. And, if he does manage to get himself worked up, no amount of lungeing ever settles him down.
It was in the 40's today and sunny, but my no means a totally balmy day, so a little high spirits are to be expected, especially from my naughty boy. And, when you consider how little work he's had recently, he was actually amazingly well behaved.
I just wish he'd find a better way to express his excess energy than bucking. It is definitely my least favorite gait.