The first day I just walked around on each of them. Red is reliably good for that. Mo is really getting there. Last year I couldn't just get on and walk on a long rein, but now I can, even after he's had a week off. He was actually pretty sluggish, which is his default ever since the first time I got on him. He was super good on Sunday.
On Monday I was a little more ambitious, so I did some walk/trot/canter each way with Red. I didn't even pick up the reins, just kept one hand on the buckle. It's like sitting on a couch, he's so comfortable, and I'd just think about what gait I wanted him in and look where I wanted to go and he did exactly what I wanted. I didn't try putting him into any kind of a frame AT ALL--seriously, buckle from start to finish--but I love how confirmed he is in the rhythm and relaxation steps of the training scale. I'm confident he'll get the connection part soon.
Mo I kept at the walk, in part because he doesn't get ridden if I don't ride him (a friend rode Red a couple times last week), and in part because he's still green that a ride I'd like to keep quiet and easy doesn't always turn out that way. He was ambling around the ring, happy as a clam, and then M came up and said she was going to go on a trail ride down the Dreaded Hill of DOOOOOOOM. And did I want to go? Of course. Did I want to go get my neck strap first? Nope.
|HILL OF DOOM WITH NO NECK STRAP??|
So off we went. He was really good, if slooowwwww, until we got to the hill. He did protest and act like a butthead, but I was really not in the mood for any bullshit, so I just kept my leg on and we made it down the hill. He took a HUGE deep breath at the bottom and walked around the meadow on a loose rein like a normal horse. He wanted to trot back up the hill instead of walk, because trotting is easier, but the rule is that they walk. I also couldn't get into two point at all because I was in my dressage saddle and my back hurts, so he also had to walk up the hill with me sitting right on his back. Which is fine, he needs the strength training anyway.
I'm sure he thought this was in violation of his contract, but I patted him a whole lot for being the bravest horse ever and gave him a bunch of carrots back at the barn. When I put him back in his stall, I apparently didn't stay and pet him enough because he gave me THE MOST HILARIOUS look over his shoulder at me. It made me laugh, and I went back in to pat him until he felt adored enough to start eating his hay. He's such a pet.
I'm really lucky to have these two incredible horses right now. I just hope my back stays happy so I can enjoy them.