I took Friday off for, um, more important matters. R and I had been apart for the week, him being busy with work. I shot outta work like a bullet, scrambled home to the kids, and hurried straight to him. Romeo and Ransom were, I think, grateful to be on a break.
Saturday late afternoon I got off to a solid start with Romeo. Tacked up Western saddle, English bit, and off we goes. His halts from walk and trot were a little bit better, less on the forehand, but still needing work. I decided this was a good time to also work on a collected steady canter instead of a strung-out hollow back run-off. He did pretty good, impressive for the time off he's had. His stride was controlled - very nice.
Rode for about 40-45 minutes, going through all the normals with a few verbal "whoa" cues to keep him tuned to me.
R arrived to watch & help with some hunter for Ransom. I saddled him up, warmed up in side reins (on 8s) on lunge, and off we goes. Walk, trot, and canter on the flat to start out. Ransom was good at all three, brakes a little slow. Not as pretty as our last ride - so still needing some tuning. I concentrated on my heels down at canter, and even did a little stretched-out down the long side canter in two-point. Yeeha! Neat feeling, up in two-point with my upper body leaning forward, arms bending along with his stride. I told R, "I feel kinda like a jocky perched up here. That's a rush!" He said, "You kinda look like one, except you're a little big." tphpht!
Two fences set up as crossrails, and we got to it. With a teenie bit of camera battery left, R did manage a couple jump photos. (I've seen them, though not gotten a copy yet.) Some look pretty good. I did recognize a couple things from this jump-ride...
As soon as I release the reins, Ransom jumps. I need to learn *where* to release, because as soon as I put slack in the reins, he pushes out. The departures felt like they were in all different places - some way early, some last-second... Just different. He landed in a pretty enthusiastic canter from each jump, a few of the times with a bit more energy than I was ready for. No matter how quick he was, he was still taking care of me, coming back to a trot with minimal effort.
R made a neat observation - "Your heels are coming above level, pointing toes down in the air. Is that supposed to happen?" WOW! Kudos & Brownie points to the boy! Big'uns! So, next approach to the fence, I paid closer attention.
I release my reins, and lift my heels, and he takes off. This meant Ransom might've been starting the jump on a leg cue I didn't know I was giving.
So I concentrated - heels heels heels. Got them shoved way down on the flat approaching the jump, and, as R was watching, he said they stayed way down on the last fence. Ransom seemed a little bit neater on the jump, and a bit better timed on the departure. Still felt a bit early, but not such a dramatic jump from some others.
Neat to make progress on a ride I thought would only be a "Hey baby! Check this out! My pony can fly!" *laugh* A very good hour ride for all. Cooled him down on walk & trot on the flat on a long rein, encouraging him to stretch out.