I decided to give Boomer a few days off to relax and refresh himself. I rode him on Saturday and there was a lesson and three other horses in the arena and Boomer did very well handling all of the activity. Once it calmed down and there were only two other horses in there was when I finally got some good work out of him even though he was still a little frazzled from the traffic earlier. He really did try hard to keep things together though! Luckily, my super awesome husband offered to come out and film us! Yay John!
This video gives a pretty good look into what we are working on. Mostly we are getting the contact pretty well and working on consistency. From the video, I can see that we need more forward- especially around corners, and a little more roundness on the bit. Also, I need to get my elbows back and sit up, this comes from my nervousness and not wanting to give away the reins, so I try to give with my arms and keep the reins to myself. Karen keeps getting on to me for having my toes out instead of forward and I am trying to work on that too. There are a few moments where you can see us struggle to get on the bit and I think that Boomer has shown great improvement in terms of resistance.
I gave him Sunday and Monday off and just did an easy day on Tuesday. Boomer was much better than I expected after having two days off. He got right down to business and did a very good job ignoring the snow sliding off of the roof! Good Boy! We worked on a little trotting, but mostly focused on getting constant contact at the walk. Our walk/halt/walk transitions are getting much better. There is a real rhythm to it that I am trying to figure out. Boomer is sensitive about rein pressure during this transition. He prefers to stop off of my seat, take up light contact to round him over the bridle, give slightly as we start forward, but take back up before he comes above the bit. Very give and take and very rapid. I haven't figured out exactly the finesse I need for that yet. It was a very good ride and I was happy with the day.
I spoke a little to my trainer about 'days off' and she said that she has heard from both sides of the issue. Some people say to school every day, some people prefer to give lots of days off. She said that with smarter horses and smarter breeds they seem to do better with a few days off after they 'get' a concept. Almost like they get annoyed with drilling something they already understand. Makes sense to me! I am going to think about that and consider riding Monday-Thursday, giving Boomer a 3 day weekend every week. I don't know yet if trail rides will replace one ride a week or be an extra ride day. Not that I will have to think about that any time soon (grr! winter!).