I went out Saturday morning to ride and see if Boomer remembered his cantering lesson for earlier in the week. Again, he was straight and even at the walk. We trotted a little to warm up, and then I asked him to canter. He was great! He started off nice and easy and only rushed for about one lap before settling down into a nice even gait. We did both directions and did several simple lead changes through the center of the ring. I had him on a loose rein he whole time. After a while, I decided to take him out for a little trail ride to kill some time before I had to leave for the airport to pick up my dad. I sidepassed him to the arena gate, opened it, and sidepassed him back to close it! Yay Boomer!
Out in the field, we trotted around the pond and into the jump field. He was feeling very nice and I decided to see if the cantering lesson still applied out in the open. Turns out, Boomer actually LEARNED something! He was very good and listened well. Going down a very slight decline, he wanted to rush, but I lifted his head and kept my legs on him and he balanced himself well.
It was about 99 degrees out and VERY humid, so I asked him to walk and started to cool him off. But, he kept trotting and asking to go faster. So, we trotted and cantered some more. Eventually, I had him walk and we went over the ground poles and flower box in the jump field. I even had him trot over them! He actually seemed to enjoy that! I was so surprised! I decided to push my luck and ask him to canter over the flower box. I have never cantered him over anything, even a single ground pole. He perked up his ears and cantered right over it without hesitation! What a good boy!
We headed back to the barn and he was hot, hot, hot. He was panting and had some good white foam across his chest. I took him into the washrack in the barn (which he is usually nervous about) and hosed him off. I spent a long time hosing him and started very slowly, only hosing his legs and neck until he cooled off. I saved his large muscle groups (rump and back) for last in an effort to keep them from getting tight. He actually really enjoyed the bath and allowed me to gently spray his face and he even licked the water a few times!
I was just so happy with him! Boomer really is a good little horse, he just has his quirks. He is very smart and capable of learning, but he learns lessons best when he is worn out and worked hard. With Boomer, the lesson has to be drilled home really hard once, and then he gets it.
I think he is starting to get back into shape and I am still cautiously optimistic about doing a few rides this fall.