Where to even start, lol. The last post was Friday, after the rain. Saturday after I taught, headed to Joyce's to ride Audrey and Tiki. Rode the filly and all was fine. Hopped on the red head and he was very good. Cantered well on the right lead; I worked very hard on cantering the right lead on a straight line and not letting him fall in. Halted/backed/worked on not letting him hollow his back during the halt. Cantered the 3 poles again, and he was very good. Set up my 2'3 vertical, this time with placing poles 9' on either side. Alternated trotting/cantering in to the jump. He did a nice job, but got a little lazy with his feet and knocked the dang jump down about 6 times. It wasn't a hard hit, but the standards are crappy and broken, so whenever he just TOUCHES the pole, it falls down. Cantering in, he's not bad, but it's gotten to where he doesn't want to trot into the jump. The poles definitely helped with that. Ended with a nice canter in, and even though he touched it and it fell, I let him stop.
Sunday, as a Mother's Day gift, hubby let me go out to the barn to hitch a ride with Celeste to a covered arena about 15 minutes from the barn. It is an all purpose arena for people that want to ride, but don't have their own. It's geared more for the western people, with deep "fill dirt" footing, barrels to set out, and the pole bending poles all there for your use. Hey, I wasn't complaining; it was big, it was covered, and it wasn't grass:) Worked well in the ring for about 20 minutes; worked on staying straight and bending well through the turns. He was pretty good on the right lead; only missed it once, which is quite good:) I got the opportunity to ride Celeste's awesome boy, Mick. DANG! That horse has the BIGGEST trot I have ever experienced. It was fun, I enjoyed it. Just as I was finishing up, Hubby showed up with the video camera. He got video of me on Mick, which I will post. Then it was me and Tiki, yay! Sadly though, I was disappointed with what I saw. His mouth was gaping open, his head was not flexed at all, and he was taking short, fast trot steps but not GOING anywhere:( As a result, I've switched out his bit again (but I'm not in love with it, so going to try a different one next time I ride him). I truly think the footing was the main problem. It had HUGE, hard clumps, and pretty big rocks mixed in. That's my excuse. My horse is VERY footing oriented. He will go nicely in a smooth, level ring. Planning an excursion to PWF Monday to actually take a lesson for the first time. Anyway, will post that video too as soon as Hubby gets it uploaded and converted on the computer.
Monday, I rode in the pasture again, and worked hard at going FORWARD. I made sure that even if I felt like we were moving on, he was actually going somewhere and not just trotting FAST. Had some trot poles set up about 4' apart, and trotted through over and over to get him to think about lengthening. He was pretty good with that; wanted to "bounce" through it a few times, but he figured it out pretty fast. Right lead was good, left lead was better, and I trotted down to the vertical, this time sans placing poles, and with a pole as a "filler". Just for something different, I also left his front legs 'naked' so if he DID hit the pole, he would sting himself. I need some openfronts, to protect his tendons and splints, but allow him to feel the sting if he's lazy. I was using Celeste's bit (an Herm Sprenger loose ring with a twisty barrel in the middle), and he felt ... different in it. Maybe not as resistive? He felt good in it, but not majikally changed (yes, 'magically' is misspelled on purpose). Not sure what it was, but he did not touch the jump once. Did it 4 times, trotten in, cantered in, trotted in, cantered in. He was very good!
Yesterday, I rode in the small arena, in Celeste's bit again. ONLY trotted and walked. Worked my BUTT off keeping my leg on and asking him to move forward into my hands. When he felt good and slow, I closed my leg and asked him to go ON. Did lots of halts and backs, did some trot on the buckle (hard! Had to do a lot of circles here), and worked quite hard at attempting to get his neck to flex. I think he did quite well. It was hard work, and he does NOT want to stretch out, but I think we made some good progress.
If I can borrow a trailer, will take a lesson with Janet Monday. Tentatively scheduled a dressage lesson with the trainer across the street for Thursday ... then it's possible horse show Sunday with my friend Becca. He got today off and will be off tomorrow too, then Fri it's back to work, then the weekend off. I sure am having fun!:)