(Note: a dear friend from high school and her 10 year old daughter came over to ride Red a couple days ago. I told them they need to come to Mary's with me sometime and meet my baby horse. Her daughter was like "I wanna see a baby horse!!!!"--I guess Rocket doesn't count since she's enormous--and my friend said, "Not a literal baby. It's like how I call you my baby." She was disappointed. And now I have to track down a baby horse for her to pet.)
|Mo loves neck scratches.|
Anyway, yesterday was designated as Mo's date with canter transitions. We've been working on this on the lunge line and he's kinda lazy about staying in the canter and getting the proper lead. I wasn't sure what was going to happen when we asked for it in the lesson, but I thought there was a good chance M was gonna have to deploy the lunge whip.
There was no need! He was a little balky at the walk. I think he was tired, this was his fifth day in a row being ridden. But once we started trotting, he did super well. And then I just asked for more trot until one more kick brought the canter. He just stepped into it and cruised around, every time I asked. He felt balanced enough that I wasn't worried about corners. I stayed in a half seat with soft reins and my hands by his neck so nothing stopped him going forward. It was AMAZING. He was perfect.
A couple times he didn't feel like he was gonna get the lead, so we just regrouped and tried again and he got it. So smart. Between canters, we did some walk-trot transitions to keep him thinking. The walk is definitely our toughest gate. The good news is, since he now knows his voice commands (and doesn't need the lunging to make him relax or focus), I don't have to lunge him before every ride now. This is excellent news. I will dutifully lunge because I must, but it's one of my least favorite things to do. Mo makes it less painful because he's such a good boy, but I think we'll both be happy to skip it. And that means I can sit on him a couple extra minutes. Nothing wrong with that!
At the end of the pretty short lesson (that M said would be her easiest of the week), she told me to ride him out of the ring and around the outside of it and then back to the barn. We have a deer family that lives outside the ring, and I mentally prepared myself for a spook and spin if any of then leapt out at him, but none did. He looked around at the world, interested but not tense, and seemed happy for a new activity.