The heat of summer is officially here! Temps in the upper 90's and high humidity. I used to think Oklahoma was humid, it is nothing compared to Kansas! My glasses regularly fog up when going outside here. Thats a strange sensation, for sure!
Boomer is doing really well. I was getting a little bored with things after a while and decided to try some flying changes! While, I am no dressage pro or trainer I figured it couldn't hurt to try! I did teach my old horse to do changes and I also taught a few polo horses to do changes as well. Polo horses always need to be on their right lead because that is the mallet hand and the side which carries most rider weight. So, I taught a few mares who preferred the left lead how to do flying changes to help them make the switch faster if they got off balance on the field. My way of teaching the flying change is to canter a small (15 meter?) circle and then switch and make a figure 8 while asking for the new lead. If the horse doesn't get it right away, urge him forward and make the circle smaller. They will switch when they feel off balance, usually within the first 1/4 of the circle.
Boomer did really well with this and cross cantered a few time, switching leads in front but not back. No big deal, just keep circling until he switched all around. I was surprised that he didn't get anxious at all for this whole process. He really seemed to be trying to figure out what I wanted. I did get a few good changes in both directions. I assumed his changes would be very big and expressive, but they were so subtle that I kept having to look down and see if he had changed! Next time I will braid his mane up to make it easier to see his shoulders. I probably will only work on this once a week at most, as I don't want him to get overly worried about not getting it yet.
The next time I rode I went out in the big roping arena (200x300ish) for the first time. I put draw reins on him because it was a new area and there were a number of scary things (cattle shoots, mechanical bull , etc). He did very well and I was surprised at how quickly he adapted to the new stimuli! He seems to really be growing up and getting more 'broke'. The barn has a fake cow 'heel-o-matic' that they can pull behind a 4-wheeler that bucks its legs up as it moves. It was stored in the back corner and Boomer definitely noticed it. I circled near it for awhile and then he was just over it. I was very surprised by that! At the end of our ride, I had him on a loose rein and actually had him go between the fake cow and the rail! He hesitated for a second and then went on through like a pro. I am really pleased with how much he is improving, both in performance and demeanor.
After our ride in the outdoor, I went for a mini- trail ride with my friend on her Andalusian stallion after she finished her lesson. We went out for just a few minutes, but it was a very nice break for both horses. Boomer was very well behaved and an exemplary trail horse! I am just so proud of him lately!
As for our future plans, we plan on doing the Hotter Than Hell series in Oklahoma this summer. There is a chance that we will have moved by then. At the very least, John and Boomer will be moved and Charley and I will be trying to sell the house! Who knows?
Don't forget to order De-Lyte Bites for your horses!!!