So amazingly yummy.
So anyway, it was back to the grind today. I made a huge dent in the horse show laundry pile, we're down to a couple of shavings-infested stable sheets and a few more wraps. Got all of the saddle pads back in the pad trunk and ready for Longleaf. Also, big news, BooBoo is back under saddle and goes for a checkup tomorrow to determine if he's ready to start trotting. Right now he's had 2 days of walking under saddle for 15 minutes, followed by 1.5 hours of turnout. He's been perfectly behaved and sound, so fingers crossed for an excellent checkup tomorrow! He's so happy to be back in work!
I got to take the Monkee for a trot today. He was feeling awesome after 2 days off and wanted to play. We hacked for 20 minutes on the buckle and then began a 20 minute trot in the Nelson field. He was feeling quite excited today and just wanted to run, run, run through the bridle and ignore my half halts. I, as always, was tempted to just take my leg off and pull back. And, as always, he reminded me that it NEVER works. So I forced myself to pull my shoulders back out of the heinous crouch they had made themselves into, put my leg on, and lowered my hands. And I half-halted. Nothing happened. I didn't freak out like I wanted and pull back, I just asked again. And again. Oh, and again, and added a circle for good measure. And slowed my posting. And added the right bend that he hates so much. WHOA....wait, was that a RHYTHM? Oh, it must've been my imagination....but no, there it is again! Granted, every time he gets it, I speed up my posting and collapse my ribcage and practically beg him to trot like a Standardbred again, but it WAS there.
I'm slowly figuring out how to ride this horse without doing too much or too little. Sometimes, because he's so much smarter than me, I'm tempted to just drop the reins and let him do whatever. Other times I'm tempted to bully him and MAKE HIM do what I want. There's this happy medium that I only find for seconds at a time where he's quiet, rhythmic, happy, and relaxed. It's easier to find in the canter, his best gait, and hardest to find in the walk. The trot is about 50/50...but worse when he's hyper like today. I just have to literally go through the checklist in my head (leg on? hands low? posting slowly? shoulders back? jaw clenched? riding defensively? no bend?) and then at the end of it all, BREATHE and remember that the perfect trot is in there, I just have to find it and keep it.
He teaches me SO much and I always feel like I learned something when we're through. It's almost comical how he can be so brilliant at times, and then sometimes he just feels like a greenie right off the track. It's all how he feels that day. The underlying point is that he's hot, sensitive, very adjustable and also very hardheaded. He's also wicked fit and thinks that open fields mean galloping or jumping, not stretchy trot. So I guess the biggest thing I can do is provide the same aids, over and over, until he remembers what they all mean and just settles into his work.
We did manage to get a beautiful trot right at the end of our 20 min set. He then walked home on the buckle and wasn't even sweating. Got a nice Vetrolin bath and got his dinner. I am so blessed to get to even sit on this horse, he's truly a special boy :)
We have an appointment Friday to try a free lease horse...keep your fingers crossed. I'm so excited and really hope it works out!