This blog has to do double duty today. I had a good ride on Buddy yesterday. I wanted to mainly work on vertical flexion, stop, backup and leg yield with him. So yesterday we did some refining of the ground work, especially leg yields from the ground. He responded pretty well. When I got on his back he was ready to go. We did some work at the walk just working on vertical flexion and moving his shoulders and hips over. He gets better and better. When I asked him to go into a trot he did want to canter, but I backed him down by picking up the outside rein ever so slightly and he trotted. I had to do this a few times before he stayed in a trot. Then when I asked him to canter he went into it immediately and we loped around the arena several times in both directions. I am trying for softness at trot and lope. He didn't quite get there yesterday before it was time to quit. However, at the end I worked on stop and backup several times. It is a lot easier to work on a stop when the horse wants to stop. And so it was.
Today we did a similar thing, only on the ground I worked on half pass against the wall and when he got that consistently I moved him away from the wall and asked. He gave me some good ones. Then I started to ask for some leg yields as I walked beside him by his hip. He really started to give me some good ones. So I thought it a good time to get in the saddle. It was real good. We started with flexion and disengagements then walked off and began to work on lateral flexion with forward and then picked up the rein for vertical flexion. After a few minutes of doing this I started going in a big circle and began to ask for a trot. He started again to go into a canter, to which I picked up a rein to back him to a trot, which he did. So we worked on softness at a trot when he was giving me that pretty good I asked for a canter. He went right into a nice rocking chair lope and we worked on softness at that gait. Then I started to do figure 8's and change leads at a lope. We weren't completely successful at flying lead changes, but it is something to work towards. Then again at the end we started to work on stops and backups. More improvement. I had a fun time on him today. I know one thing about this horse he doesn't have a problem going forward at all. In fact, there were a couple times when I asked him to canter that he almost unseated me because I wasn't ready for how quickly he would respond. I got a good laugh those times.
I also discovered something else about him. His teeth are not right. I know I mentioned this before, but today I felt of his upper molars on the outside of his cheek with my fingers and discovered that his upper jaw is wider than his lower so that there is about 1/8 inch difference. That is why when I pick up a rein he has trouble wanting to give. In fact, when I touched him at the front of his molars he pulled his head away. So it does cause him pain. Thus, everytime I pick up a rein he is in some pain. No wonder there has been some issues. We will have a dentist take care of that for him and then we will see how he responds.
Well I gotta get off here.
Have a happy and safe New Year. I will be back at it on Monday with a lesson.