Occupation. I realized just now that, all that ride with Romeo yesterday, I didn't get nervous, my heart didn't pound, I didn't feel like a flock of butterflies were flittering in my tummy...
Because I had a "job" to do. Romeo needed a ride, at the lope, and I needed to show him where to go & how fast to do it. I asked him to lope out, and squeezed until I got the gait I wanted. I didn't give him time to buggy-trot & refuse me. He went fast, I flopped in the saddle. I remember thinking a few times, "Okay, sit up, get your heels down, weight in your rump", then those posture-ideas were replaced with, "Whoa big guy.. where are you going now? I want to turn NOW you little thing... Let's go over here. Another circle, good! Here's where I want to go now." I was so busy thinking about "where to go next", and "keeping him in the gait" and "turning him where he needed turning", that I didn't get scared. The one time I let go of the saddle horn, I realized nothing in my balance changed, either. I didn't feel pitched forward, I didn't feel like I was losing balance, I didn't feel like leaning off the side of the saddle.
If that's the trick, then I'm set for battle. Once Chewie is fit to canter under saddle again, I should be set for the ride of my life. For the longest time, I thought I would progress to cantering an old horse I could trust (Amigo), cantering Chewie, *then* forcing Romeo to canter. My own horses are switched. Chewie is a brilliant horse, no doubt in my mind. I get that front right hoof in order, I have a feeling all of his balance & control issues will resolve themselves. Meanwhile, Romeo is going to serve as my test-dummy.
Here's a question - How do you know when a horse needs Chiropractic work? Especially if you don't know they've ever had it before? With Chewie, it would be obvious - he'd flinch at a good rubdown. I wonder if Romeo would find that beneficial.. I will work on canter first, both leads, and see if he's even on both. I'm also going to start paying more attention to his reaction to the brushes.