I had company coming over for supper, and wanted to show the progress I've made with both horses. So right after work, I hurried to water the dogs, change shoes, and scrambled to the back yard.
Caught Romeo, saddled him up with the old western saddle. Tied him in his stall.
Caught Chewie, saddled him in the new Dakota Barrel, and scrambled to the round pen. He warmed up beautifully, with a little more effort on his own to carry his head on the inside canter-right. I crawled on, walk, trot, canter-left, about 20 more minutes. Friend pulled in the driveway, walking towards the round pen, I thought, "This'll stir him up...", and I asked Chewie to canter left. Stirrups flapping in the breeze, he picked up the wrong lead. I slowed him back to trot, and asked again, head leaning inside. He picked up the left lead, and was going going going! I didn't feel like I was bouncing too much in the saddle, so after about three circles, I "shhh"ed him to a trot, sat the trot for a few circles, and walked him out. Friend said, "Who is that lady in the saddle on that big fast horse?! That's not the lady I saw riding a few months ago!" I laughed... "I have a focus now, and it's on something other than being scared. We're all doing a little better."
Cooled Chewie down, unsaddled, hosed the mountain of frothy sweat off of him (it wasn't terribly warm, but he's terribly out of shape, I suppose), and asked Friend to hand-graze him just outside of Romeo's pasture until he dried.
Grabbed Romeo, put his martingale & bit on, and off we went into his pasture. Walk, trot, figure eights, circles, whoa's. Did a little backing up, he threw his head a bunch, so I trotted some more circles, figure eights, and the sort. Asked for a back up again, and he complied. I figured, "He's warmed up enough. Let's show Friend how hard I've been working, and how smart Romeo's gotten."
Asked for canter, purposely on the straightaway, head tilted a tad outside. I wasn't going to chance the wrong lead (again). Romeo has to have head tilted out for the correct lead, Chewie tilted inside. He picked up the left lead, and we loped and loped and loped. Romeo had about the same gas pedal rate as Chewie. I laughed, and got his attention with a light bit-check. He eased up a bit, and we did some huge circles in his pasture. Biggest ones I've done in that pasture yet. I saw Friend watching dead-stare. When I could tell he was actually paying attention, and Romeo had calmed to a nice lope, I reached for his neck, and said, "whoa". Romeo stopped on his rear end. I rubbed him "good boy", and walked him back to the trailer.
"Well, what did you think?"
Friend, again, says, "I don't know who that lady is up in that saddle, but the horse looks amazing. What a great ride. You've got both of the horses where you want them. It looks fantastic!"
Romeo's total work was about 15 minutes. He's gone over & above for me Saturday & Sunday, so I walked him to the trailer, got off & unsaddled. Hosed him off, as well. Put him in the stall still wet, and he didn't disappoint - rolled about six times, all the way over. Good Boy!
Both horses will get today & tomorrow off. Weathermen say 40% chance of rain today, 60% chance tomorrow. 40% again Thursday. We'll see... I won't hold my breath.