Convinced I could canter Ransom both directions, I chose my western saddle for the ride. Knowing full well I wouldn't have the confidence to canter right in my english saddle. I figured Ransom would either adjust, or have a huge bucking fit. Either way, I needed to know if he could handle it.
He acted like that wasn't his first run in a western saddle. He responded great. Since I didn't have to focus so hard on myself, it was easier to ride & read his reactions.
Things I learned
*Ask for canter, then sit light. Don't sit solid or deep - he'll just go faster
*Close reins & pulse rein & thighs for downward transitions
*I was able to use Half-Halt that finally worked like every instructor I've ever had intended
*If I sit light, I can get a sitting trot. The instant I sit deep, and "lean on my pockets", he speeds up considerably
*Plenty of breaks and pats make a happy horse - He thrives on positive feedback. I might try to find sugar cubes & carry some in my pocket for a while. Let him know that when I get it right & he responds, I really appreciate it.
We worked for nearly 45 minutes, and had a blast!!!
Caught Romeo out in the pasture, way in the back. Jumped on him bareback, and let him carry my lazy behind back to the gate. I saw him smiling at Ransom... "See, dude.. she trusts me.. It'll take about 2 years, if she's the same with you as she was with me.. But she'll get there."
Romeo and I worked for another 45 minutes. Walk, trot, canter, in the smaller pasture. Worked on a few rollbacks with great response, as well. He was sweaty & exhausted by ride's end. Good for him, too..... I still saw smiles when I turned him out after the work.
Got a little more arena-widening work done. Posts are started on one long side, most of the leveling work is done too. Finished my day with a hot bath & a long massage. A great day off overall.