Riding Boomer is going well. I am so happy that I can still ride even when we have snow on the ground! The indoor arena has an overhead heating system on a timer dial that really does heat things up right away. I had it on for about 10 minutes while lunging and by the time I was ready to ride I could comfortably take my coat off. Boomer did well today. He felt willing right away. I have been asking him for more ‘forward’ movement and he is still trying to figure out fast vs forward. Mostly we are just going faster with his head in the air. Cantering is still coming along. The transitions still continue to be troublesome, but the actual canter work is improving. It is much slower and more controlled. I am starting to ask for bend which will hopefully lead to him working more through his back. As of today, he was starting to see the difference between bending and turning and was starting to think about softening and bending around the circle. Our downward transitions are improving, I have been putting my legs around him gently as we transition and he really seems to understand that he should stay forward. Most of the time we get it, sometimes he still slams on the breaks and jars me forward. I am still trying to figure out rein contact when he comes up, I am usually not able to follow to keep contact so I have been pushing him forward and usually in a few strides-half circle he seeks the contact on his own. It isn’t pretty but I think it is on the right track.
I took a video of us working this afternoon and am trying to get that uploaded to youtube and then post it here. I had about 25 minutes of video and I cropped out anything where I went out of frame and most of the walking work, warm up, and cool down to make it under the 10 minute youtube limit.
Honestly, I thought we were looking better than we are. He sure feels better than he looks! I feel him on contact much of the ride and my perspective is that his head and neck are much more relaxed than they look in the video. Sigh... I guess thats why we are about to start taking lessons! There is some good trot work and you can see where we are with the cantering. The first time I ask him to canter on the left lead (bad side) he just starts power trotting and getting strung out. He does that on the first ask about half the time. After that first ask, he usually gives me a better transition. Not a good transition, but better that the alternative. You can see that in the video as well.