Ransom’s last two terrible rides, I had an audience watching on. I gave him two days off to keep us in line with “every other day” leading up to a show we’re attending this Saturday (6/26). I was hoping it was just bad luck of having an audience watching our rides that were the second day in a row causing the problems.
Warmed him up 5 minutes each way on side reins, same as always. Very forward, very responsive. One trot to canter he even tossed his head & took off a little bit. *giggle* Silly monster…
Hopped aboard, and got down to business. Walk, to a pretty halt. Get that good, work trot to walk, pretty ups and downs. Then just a teensie bit of trot to canter. Again, really nice.
So I rode a modified Training Level test 1 to see how he’d do over a whole arena. It was pretty good. He didn’t stay collected tight the entire ride, losing it in the corners that were following a long side. What I liked, is I didn’t have to push for forward, and the long free walk came without fuss or bother. His trot to halt wasn’t so great, so I’ll keep working on it, but if it’s still stickie Saturday, I’ll go with a few steps of walk before halt.
Then back down to one circle. I tried some stretching-down trot circles, and found those absolutely fascinating! He’d stretch way down, but still came back to collected without tossing his head. Nice!
A little more canter-left, and I called it done. I told Ransom, “A few walk/halts, and we’re outta here.” Ransom said back, “We’re done now, and I’m going to try getting out of this by raising my head, poking my nose out, and generally test your tolerance today.” It took another 7 or 8 transitions before he gave in for two in a row heading left. Then I called it done.
About 30 minutes of good solid working work! A good ride. But it brought my mind to wondering – can we handle two tests on Saturday, or should I expect one to be no better than they’ve been? Is it reasonable to expect him to be great for two tests? Heck, is it reasonable to expect him to even work hard for two, or should I assume now he’ll be all across the board crummy, tired, and crabby for the second one? I’ve entered the show for two tests, so we’ll see if that plan sticks.
What I did learn? Ransom wasn’t bad for the audience – he met my mood rather well. So either his previous two incidents were directly related to the repeated days of work, or I was tense about being watched, and it slirked down the saddle straight to his noggin. We may never know ..