|Pretty sure this is the day he busted his splint ... running around the ring like an idiot with naked legs!|
And I DON'T mean that sarcastically:) Gave Muffin his shots on Tuesday morning, gave him Tues and Wed off, and rode him today. I couldn't decide really WHAT I wanted to do, and ended up tacking up in the cc saddle and his jumping bridle with the wonder bit. Upon entering the ring, I adjusted the 3 cav bounces to the medium setting, a full 9' apart, then adjusted the 2 poles of a little maze thing someone had set up to a full 9'. The coop sections had been separated to make room to go between them, and I tweaked their positions to be on each diagonal. Each little section of coop (2 of them) are about 3' wide at the face of them, so VERY narrow. So basically what I had was an outside line of 3 cav bounces, another outside line with 2 poles set as a bounce, and a teeny little coop skinny on each diagonal. These were set amongst a nice little trail obstacle course I'm sure Joyce set up:)
The ring was still rock hard, so again I didn't plan to ride him into the ground. Began with a walk and trot both ways on the buckle. Gradually gathered up contact on the reins at the trot then put him on a 20m circle. I kept a nice medium trot, not rushing him at all. I have to ask a little more for him to come into the contact with the wonder bit; it is a gag bit after all. I randomly threw in plenty of halts, and he was pretty good and prompt for the most part. As SOON as all 4 feet stopped moving, I flexed both reins and asked for more flexion at the poll, sometimes backing up. I don't want to back up every time I halt him, because I could see that being a problem for our halt down the centerline!! I did my canter transitions every time from the trot, and each time they were perfect; no rushing, no quickening of the trot, no hollowing of the back. Just a perfect back to front departure with a nice and steady rein contact.
The canters were very nice; super light and well balanced with a pretty decent flexion through the poll. The canter is where he needs work right now. Cantered through the poles, and he swapped to a cross canter so I halted. Trotted a bit and got him nice and deep through his neck, then cantered through the poles again. I let him move up to it, and he again landed in a cross. Again, I patiently halted then backed, then came through again. This time, I held the contact, COUNTED my rhythm, and nailed the poles beautifully in a nice slow hunter rhythm, and he just kept his lead and cantered through, YAY:D Trotted some more, then cantered through the cavs. He got a little heavy through them on landing, so I halted and backed. Cantered into a coop section, prepared for a runout but riding to prevent one. He TRIED to bulge a shoulder and scoot on by, but I stayed committed and he hopped over, albeit a bit awkwardly. I truly think it wasn't a dishonesty thing, it was a "HUH? You want me to actually JUMP now? THIS???"
I just started cantering around, doing outside/inside/outside/inside. I asked him for, and received 3 PERFECT and clean lead changes in the corners so was done there. After that first coop, each time I jumped it I was always accurate and definitive, but he never wavered from it again. He felt light and eager and very even and SLOW. Lol, even Mary Bess Sigman, an advanced level eventer we've cliniced with a few times wanted me to SLOW him down! We're learning. And I'm doing better, thank goodness!
Riding tomorrow for sure but not sure where or what. I will figure that out tomorrow after I'm done