With an abnormal start to my Saturday morning, I was faced with the opportunity to ride Ransom early in the day. I sprayed on the Mosquito Halt, noticing the little stinging monsters falling to the ground. Neat stuff.. And off to the arena we went.
I gave him just a few minutes free lunge around the arena before settling him into side reins & the line. Worked for about five minutes free. To start, he was leaning on the side reins, head in the sky, quite hot & disorganized. His mind & body caught up to each other, and after about ten minutes at mostly trot, with some canter. When his trot to canter back to trot transitions started looking pretty, I asked for walks to whoa. Both directions were nice, so I got on. A quick mosquito check found a few on his belly, but none surprisingly feasting on me, or his neck & legs. I decided this would be good enough for a working ride.
I got through the "parts" of Training 1, with the ask for canter in the corner, travel down long side, 20m circle over the center, ask back to trot on the last 3/4 of the circle. He did well. In each direction, I'd first ask for canter in a comfortable spot, on the low circle. Canter the circle, canter all the way around the arena, ask back to trot. Ask canter in the deep corner, head down long side, turn for 20m circle in center, ask trot last 3/4. This went much better than the last time I tried it, when he thought it'd be blast to blow full steam ahead down the long sides. Much better - I felt him in my hands rather than pushing through them.
Lots of trot to walk down transitions - And probably 75% of them were good. I was a bit surprised, as he'd had a few days off with the bugs, and I was asking for hard serious work. After some more trot/canter/trot and walk/trot/walk work, I trotted him over the ground pole series, hoping to keep him consistent down the otheg long side, and keep the trot the same whether in or out of the poles. A few go's each direction, and it became very fluid, and if I didn't know the poles were there, I might not have known the difference.
We rode together for about an hour total, including a long loose rein walk out. The mosquitoes were still at a minimum at the end of the ride. Hosed him down, scraped the water off, and quickly added more bug spray. It's expensive, for sure, but good stuff that should get me through the remaining mosquito season.