I was lucky enough to get two days with Boomer this weekend. Though, I knew going into it that the send day riding in a row is never as good as the first. He just doesn't do as well with back to back rides.
Saturday was good, we just rode in the arena for 30-45 minutes and his cantering was great. I finally figured out why he always bulges away fro the rail in one spot in the arena. The footing is deeper and he is avoiding that. So, now I feel even LESS sympathy for him than before! I thought it was a physical difficulty in staying straight after a corner. No. He is just smart and lazy. But we already knew that.
I have been working on Les Vogt's 5 easy pieces with him. This is just a good test to see if you have control of all parts of your horses body. First you pull their head around in a small circle until they start to relax the jaw and swing their outside front leg around making larger steps. Second, you use your leg (knee pressure) to move the across the arena- leading with the shoulder. Third, you use leg pressure to side pass. Fourth, you do a turn on the forehand. Fifth, you back in a circle.
The first 4 parts are gaining control of each individual part, the 5th piece is putting it all together and seeing what isn't working. So far, Boomer is doing well with everything except side passing and backing. His turns on the forehand are beautiful! Saturday was the best day we had so far. Very proud. We just spend the last 5 minutes of the ride doing this exercise and it seems to be getting better each day. Probably wouldn't hurt to do it at the beginning AND end of the ride.
Sunday's ride was not as good. He was fighting me almost the whole time, which is his usual behavior when we ride two days in a row. We were out in the field and he decided that he had forgotten the cantering lesson we had. So, I had to buck up and do it again. Except this time it was 95 degrees and humid. I finally got him to slow down and behave after cantering for close to 30 minutes straight. By then, I was done. Surprisingly, he was NOT TIRED after that. He was panting and puffing, but still asked to trot after that! We rode for a total of 2 hours- 30 minutes of walking, 45 minutes of trotting, and 45 minutes of cantering. I would say that I am confident that he can do a 25 miler right now. In a month, he will be ready to do a 50 miler.