This week has been great! Tuesday began with a nice dressage school. I warmed him up as I have been lately, walking over the medium cavs until I felt that back loosen and engage. I circled him with his nose to my knee both directions a few times to stretch out those side muscles, then picked up contact at the walk. There was no beating around the bush; as soon as I shortened those reins I marched him forward. At the trot I kept that slow forward rhythm and did lots of 20m circles both directions. Sitting trot and shoulder-in was pretty good both ways. I did leg yield, catch him and go straight, then leg yield to the rail. Practiced canter from walk/change to counter lead on straightaway, counter canter corner, then switch back to correct lead on other straightaway. No flying changes; don't like it when he anticipates it, so I kept him calm and relaxed. Ended great!
Wed was bareback hack through his pasture in the halter. Can I just say ... my horse is STILL the most uncomfortable horse I've ever ridden bareback? Gah! If he was to buck, I would break my pubic bone, 'nuff said!
Today we did gymnastics! It's been awhile since he's done them, and I got some inspiration from the latest issue of Eventing magazine.
Tall crossrail, 21' to a single askew pole, 21' to a swedish oxer (2'6ish), 21' to another askew pole, opposite the first one, 21' to another tall crossrail. Having learned my lesson about setting a big gymnastic line and asking him to go through cold turkey, I set the first xr then put the rest down as poles. The oxer I actually laid down the poles wide, then placed a pole diagonally across it to simulate a "ditch". I was SOOOO glad I set them like that, because first time thru off the right lead was a little rough. He jumped HARD at the xr, then fell through the rest of the poles. Came in off the left lead, and he placed his feet MUCH better, still jumping the snot out of the xr ... this time when he landed, he got a little bucky bucky. Turd! Set the next element, and now he was going through fine. The 21' distance was getting a little tight, and I started to keep a feel of his mouth and whoa him a bit. I set the other askew pole, then came thru both leads again. Good! Finally set the oxer ... I'm an oxer wimp, and he is historically very overly ambitious over oxers in gymnastic lines. He came thru GREAT off the right lead, but off the left he actually backed off the line and had down the front pole on the oxer. I reset it and went ahead and set the final xr, then came thru right lead. He felt VERY round and didn't get fast because I kept a feel with a following hand. He landed pretty fresh again, though! Double Turd! Left lead was better, but he felt like he struggled a little. Came thru left one more time and it was better, so I quit. This grid was SPECIFICALLY for squaring up that front end. I could feel him study it and really try, so even though I couldn't see him, I'm sure it helped that slightly hanging front end. Interestingly, I rode him in his xc bridle; a figure 8 and the Waterford bit. The minimal flat work I did in it wasn't all that amazing; he was all like, "HEY! Where's the FIELD???"
I was going to be finished for the week, but sounds like a friend I have been trying to get on him FOREVER is finally coming out tomorrow, so I will hop on him so she can see him, and then she'll ride him! Woo hoo! I love to see my pony get ridden by most excellent riders.