4/14 - Longed Harley, side reins, surcingle. I wasn't motivated to do much more with him, exhausted from a long work week. Total work, about 40 minutes.
4/15 - Jen came over, offered extra eyes and a few tips on how to move forward in his training. Rather than the bending/flexing at the walk, she suggested work at halt. Bend his head left, bend his head right, gather both reins up, and release in all three directions anytime he gave a correct response. Within a few minutes, he realized what the lesson was for both reins. He was stickie bending left to start, and then after a half hour randomnly flexing him, he became stickie right.
I picked up the trot, and Jen noticed Harley wasn't really trotting out near like he does on the longe. Oops, rider error. This rider has been holding him back. I explained a little of my hesitation in "letting him go", and she assured me, "He's not going anywhere, he's not going to do anything bad. Let him Go."
When I did, he didn't hold it for long, I'm certain because he hadn't been allowed to do it with me riding yet. I got a few good strides in a row really trotting out before he'd ease up again. It felt speedy, and honestly, HUGE. I remarked to Jen afterwards, "Ransom didn't trot out that big, um, ever, I don't think." Jen replied, "In his hayday, Ransom probably could trot that big, but he was stiff and sore when he was here, so you're right, he didn't trot that big. Harley has young legs and loose joints, so he is going to move bigger."
Little horse, little legs, and man o man, that Harley can MOVE!
Homework: Longe in neck stretcher a lot, work on suppleness at the halt (left, right, both), and until he's excellent at halt, don't move onto walk. At the trot, push push push for forward and moving out. Loose rein as much as possible at the trot. Aim for 5 to 6 days work a week.