Romeo English, turned into Romeo Western. Jenn summed it up best, "You don't really need another hunter horse. You've got one over there." pointing at Ransom... To be anywhere close to decent enough to show it, Romeo's got probably another year of canter to get better at. I don't see much reason to ride hunter except to show it, because let's all be honest - how many of us are dying to trail ride in an english saddle? If you've got that courage, and believe your balance is good enough to handle a misstep or a stumble, great for you! I'd rather have swells and a cantle to hold my hiney in place.. that big "hold here" handle helps, too.
Romeo's lesson consisted of walk, jog, lope (HAH! It ain't slow, but we can call it that now for real), a few rollbacks, weaving in & out of "poles" (jump standards), and walk in & back out of L-shape. His "spins" (turn on haunches) weren't real pretty. Effort, but not pretty. Something to work on the ground, and under saddle. Total work about 45 minutes.
Romeo homework: Snaffle hunter bit, work on turns, spins, rollbacks, offering up more help on the bit that the TT just doesn't help with. Trail riding, goofing off, and getting back to enjoying each other rather than training to show.
Ransom then got to carry the western saddle, walk, trot, canter on the lunge line. Jenn warmed him up, and I was happy to say he looked good. Lunge lesson on side reins, with the regular ride reins tied up. That meant working on me, and staying with him. I did notice for the first time the lack of movement in his sitting trot. It's not a lot of side-side movement, and it's not a forward-backward movement at all. It's very different to sit than other horses I've done sit trot on. Fortunately, there isn't much of that in hunters, and perhaps once he develops more muscles, his trot will become more defined one way or another. The canter work was nice... each circle gets a little better. That tacky western saddle seat was almost limiting, for the first time. I felt too "stuck" to move with him. That's fixable - next week's lesson moves onto my dressage saddle, and with riding breeches, there won't be much "stickie", and more opportunity to move my hiney with him...
Ransom homework: Ride or exercise every other day, lungeline w/side reins or riding. Prepare tack & mind for dressage saddle lesson next week.