Yep. The pony (and I) sweated today!:) It is SO nice to be out of that horrid deep freeze. Like I said, I live in the balmy south for a reason! Tiki had Sunday and Monday off after working his tail off Saturday at the show. Yesterday was a longe day. I attempted to free jump his as well, but that didn't work out so well. That was a good use for the small grass ring, but since our nice big ring with footing has been available, the grass ring was obliterated. He did look pretty nice on the longe line. Cantered him both ways, and he didn't cross canter. He needs to learn to hold himself up well, so honestly, he should probably canter a small little circle like that every week! STILL doesn't want to go forward. GEEZ!
The pony messed up when I took off the longe line and cracked the whip at him. He showed me he ACTUALLY has a hunter trot. Well knock me over with a feather. He was WAY forward, he arched his neck, he smoothed out his gait, and his hooves floated gently over the footing. Hmm. How in the H-E-double hockey sticks to I replicate that under saddle? A year and a half and this is the FIRST time I've ever seen so much as a HINT of that trot. Any words of wisdom are welcome!
Observed that with the copper roller bit/regular cavesson he didn't open his mouth at all until I hooked on the side reins. Once that contact was initiated, he started opening his mouth and showing his teeth:( Rode today, and he does FEEL pretty good in it. He rounds his neck, he felt very straight, and he doesn't feel tense or anything. At the canter, we wrestled a little bit. We've sort of achieved head down, flexed at the poll, and nice straight neck at the trot. Now to repeat that at the canter. I really used my inside spur, strong support with the outside rein, and TRIED not to use an indirect inside rein; tried to actually open the inside rein. He was decent; I think with lots of work it will get there.
Switched between the canter and the hand gallop. He came back to me VERY well. Not any fighting on that at all. Trotted back and forth over a little cav oxer, then proceeded to my gymnastic I'd set:)
A crossrail with the poles at 3'9, one stride to a 3' vert, two strides to a 2'9 vertical. Set to canter in and jump in from either side. I had PLANNED to raise the 3' center jump, but the gymnastic wasn't quite as seamless and perfect as I'd envisioned. Set both distances 3' short from "the step". I've been riding a lot of adds to get him to slow down and be more careful. The first time in over the crossrail, he backed off so much both distances were very long. Came in again, clucked and closed my leg, and the 2 stride was actually a one and a half. Ugh. Tried it off the right lead, and I saw a quiet distance but he didn't. I had to pull him out because the distance was So Bad. Came again, and he was very unsure since I'd just pulled him out. So it was a little crooked, but not bad. One more time on the right lead, and it felt pretty ok. Decided to do the left one more time, and it was ... perfect. Rhythmic, balanced, straight, and careful. Nice.
Tomorrow it's supposed to rain all day, so no riding. Friday may be butt work, not sure. Tentatively planning to do his 'chaser clip on Saturday because there was a goodly amount of SWEAT on the boy today, yay! He has chunked up so much I need new blankies for next year in a bigger size! He has rubs ALL over his coat from his current ones. He's been wearing both his t/o sheet and his blanket, and he has rubs on both shoulders and over his "point of buttocks":( Actually bathed him yesterday, and he looked fabulous; then, of course, he was turned out last night sans any sort of sheet or blanket, so I spent some quality time with the curry comb today:) I think he enjoyed a nice roll with no jammies on. LOVE my pony!!:)