Rode Romeo at the house mid-afternoon. Walk, trot, canter, and a little extended canter. Worked on leads, canter left and canter right. My seat was a little better to the right, still work to do. Hosed him down after his hard work, and scrambled off to obedience graduation.
Class graduation was easy & quick. MacKenzie did great.. She finally stood on command, and while it was probably a fluke, and she doesn't like doing it at home, I can hope it'll be good enough for the vet or an emergency when I need her to do it on command. I'll try to post the picture if I can.
Ran home, unloaded doggie, fed Chewie, and loaded Romeo. Headed out to the roping arena again. This time, we had an audience. I worked the roping chute a while (earning my stripes with the cowboys), and grabbed Romeo to bring the steers back to the top. I didn't give him a lot of time to think about reining or trotting, I just kissed him up into a lope. One of the times I whizzed by Les, he said, "Are you coming or what?!" I heard Mr D in the background holler, "Cain't you see she's loping her horse around! Give the cowgirl a minute to warm her horse up! She's loping him! Check that out!" *giggle*
Les said to me after a bit, "I want you to track a steer out of the chute down the arena. If I didn't think you were ready, I wouldn't let you do this. Try to stay behind him, and keep up. No matter how fast he does, you keep after him. Ride aggressive." The steer came out of the chute, and Romeo and I didn't react quite fast enough. He was about 20 feet in front of me, and it felt like we were flying down the arena. I could hear Mr D in the background, "Chase him faster! Get after that steer! Go go Go!" *laugh* Got to the end of the arena, and I forgot to grab Romeo's neck for the halt... just pulled back on the reins and it wasn't real successful.
In Les's saddle (two sizes too big, saddle horn wrapped so large it's hard to hold onto), I jumped on Amigo, and loped him around for a warm up lap. Les says, "Next steer is a score-cow, and it's yours." The steer came out of the chute, and Amigo the roping horse, knows his job. In fear, I held him up a little bit, and he answered with an easy lope down the arena. It felt different. On Romeo, I feel like I'm doing all of the thinking. On Amigo, I'm holding on and letting him do the work. He was purpose-driven, much different than Romeo.
Loped Amigo around some more, only barely holding on to the saddle horn. The saddle is too big, the stirrups don't adjust short enough for me, so they were flapping in the breeze. The cowboys kept chasing steers during my loping warmup, so I was able to lope around gently enough to keep an eye on what they were doing, and Amigo thinking about me and not steer-chasing. Felt pretty good... It was neat to think that, a few months ago, any canter Amigo gave me felt big, fast, and scary. Last night, it felt slow, and effortless. I was kicking him with a lot of effort to keep him in it. I felt like a little kid on a big slow horse in a big saddle... and with the balance of a little kid. It was strange.
Tracked on Romeo a handful more times, and each time, it seemed to get better. One time, he was flying trying to catch that steer. I let my mind focus only on the steer, and a loose rein. I kicked Romeo into his gallop, and forced him to catch up. Got to the end of the arena, and I grabbed his neck to make him WHOA. He stopped much better with each chase. The last steer he refused to listen & stop, and I put him in a very hard back up to where I'd asked for the halt I didn't get. He did overall work hard and try hard. Most important, I had a blast.
Good thing I had fun, too.. Because I got to bed late, and I'm struggling this morning. Hosting a Global team meeting in 5 minutes... *yawn*, and I'm exhausted.. It'sa gonna bea long day. =)
Everyone have a duckie day. Itsa gonna get cold tonight. Bring out the pony-blankets, first of the season. Hot tea (& splenda) for everybody...