We rode for, oh, about 35 minutes. A short spurt, but good work was done. In his dressage gear (how I love my saddle - just those three days in my other tack made me so satisfied to sit deep!), Ransom and I went through our normal paces. Walk, trot, and a bit of canter, heading in circles in different spots in the arena, and all the way 'round both directions.
Then I picked something from the tests I did poorly, saw on all three tests, and recognized wasn't great from the video - working walk to free walk. Everytime we'd transition to free walk, Ransom would pull the reins outta my hands. I'd respond with a sharp growl, and take contact back up sharply. If he'd relax into the longer rein, I'd praise lavishly, pat on the neck, and let him have a long rein. Just as soon as that head'd flip & pull the reins, "NO sir!" and a quick rein-shortening.
Right before I went out to ride, I watched a short portion of a Julie Goodnight episode from RFD-TV I had recorded. Every so often she does something that makes sense to me, and in this episode, it looked easy enough. Rider was having a hard time keeping her horse collected, and Julie suggested a "tug" on the reins, outside then inside, to regain collection. When Ransom hollowed at the walk, I tried it - with absolutely zero success. So! It was neat to try, but I found the "pulsing" that Barbara had suggested was much more effective. As a result, I'm back to the original routine.
With that curiosity satisfied, we were back to our regulars. I did a handful of walk to trot back to walk transitions to keep his mind active. Ransom was completely compliant, as if to say, "Mom, it was only a three-day break. I'm still right where you left me, promise!"
Cooled down with lots of loose rein walk, trying to adjust Ransom's stride to whatever music tempo happened to be in my head. =) Had the mp3 player going, on satellite radio feed, so we seriously were at complete random walk gaits.
A short ride, but a fun start getting us back together, and Ransom back to work.