I warmed Ransom up with a nice steady two point trot. We settled into that "deep tummy breathing", and I laughed that, as I released the reins, he reached down deep looking for the contact. *giggle* If only he'd do that in the dressage seat.. ah.. we'll get there.
Then I got him up at a canter, and settled back into two point. It feels , um , faster. I don't feel like I'm losing control, I feel like he's really flying. I can feel that "hang time" when all four hooves are off the ground. I rested my knuckles on his neck, and felt sort of like a race jockey, with my arms flexing with his stride. It got easier the longer we went, but it's something that will need more work.
I had already set up trot poles down one long side, X on the other. I set ground rail on both sides of the X, so we could approach from either direction without me having to dismount & set it back up.
Ransom got the pattern pretty quick. I got good at landing the last trot pole, looking at the X, and he was trying to get me there pretty quick. As a result, I had to focus down the long side, stare at a fence post, go through the trot poles, and when we were a few strides away, THEN glance over at the X. All it took was a glance, too, and we were aiming at it.
His hops Sunday were prettier than Saturday. It felt like he was pausing rather than launching. Maybe it's just getting more familiar, but I felt a little more in control in the take-off and landing. Even after the X, I could look down at the trot poles, and he'd get us there. That's a neat feature in a trained horse - just LOOK where you want to be next, and he gets you there.
I rode for about an hour total. Worked A LOT on two point at canter after about ten minutes on the poles & X. It's going to take a while, but I figure I found the "breathing balance sweet spot" in the trot, so I will find it at canter.
In leiu of video , if anyone has suggestions or ideas on things to set up that are "low & slow", to give me practice on balance & equitation, I'm all ears. Better yet, get some video & show me!
Tonight is either Romeo western work (Sunday I rode him bareback in the yard, walk/trot, focused on neck reining & whoa. Backed him in circles, and once he got it, he was fabulous at it), or Ransom dressage. I need a little "mental break" from the hunter focus. It sure is fun, but there's plenty of muscle development and balance to be learned in dressage as well.