First of all I broke out the woolback pad for the season. This thing is heavy and I hesitate to use it in hot weather so it's been waiting patiently in the tack room all summer. I did the leg stretches forward & backward on all 4 legs. Razz loves to stretch his fronts all the way out. We walked around the barn area for a while, then crossed the bridge into the huge corn field. A lap around the perimeter and Razz was loosened up and ready to work. So we made our way over one more field (one not loaded with cork stalk remnants) and got to it!
|warm up walk|
We went straight to trot and serpentined across the entire field, making tight-ish u turns, taking advantage of the long straight stretches to randomly swap my posting diagonal and feel what was going on underneath me. The right rein has always been Razz's weaker side. I could feel his steady pace waiver a bit in the hind end switching to the left diagonal (is this correct terminology? Posting up w/left shoulder = left diagonal??) Nothing severe, just a rebalance. Switching to the other diagonal he carried on no problems.
After a couple large laps of trot I asked for a canter the way jenj described asking in her post with gp trainer. Razz popped in to canter easier than ever. I hit the nail on the head the first time, although I wasn't batting 1000. Not being used to giving an aid at such a precise moment, I had some fails. But when I got it right he was seamless and I was grinning from ear to ear.
Every time I made a longside pass down the field headed away from the barn he wanted to bend his barrel left. Like really bad. His pasture is beside the field I was working in, and he's grown extremely chummy with one of his pasturemates. I attributed this odd bending to the fact that he just wanted to go back out with his pal. His diversion. I wrapped my left leg around his side and gave him a firm twist of my heel lower down his ribcage than normal. I have to sit the trot when giving the heel. I've never been good at applying a varying degree of leg aids while posting. And contrary to my recent blog entry where I complain about being out of shape and unable to sit a canter properly, I can sit my trots pretty well without being a potato sack.
He was trying to get strong with me on our large laps. Especially so in the turns, falling heavy on the forehand and bracing against the rein. I worked on not being so forward in my half seat and made my turns as large as possible. Also focused on keeping my hands super quiet. Hopefully soon I can get hubby to hold him on a lunge line so that I can focus solely on my seat. A real lesson would be even better, but that will have to wait til after the new year.
Pleased with our work, I pointed him back toward the chewed up corn field to cool out.
Sunday I got up early and took a hike into the Croatan with one of my closest friends. We found bear tracks, and when I got to the barn later and told everyone they wanted to ride over and see. Back in the Croatan I went. My feet were so sore by the time I got home!
|bear tracks, with friend's size 10|
providing vague scale