Harley and I had a fun ride last night. While he had his own issues, which I'll get to here in a minute, nature offered us some excitement as well. As I started getting him ready, either neighbor children, or CRNG, fired off about 6 shots from what sounded like a 0.22rifle. Lovely. If I ever figure out just exactly where they're coming from, I'll go have a chat with the gun owner, making sure they understand what's on the other side of the target. Should Harley or I get shot, even accidentally, they won't want to pay that bill, or deal with me after the fact.
Additionally, a Momma doe and her twin babies were bouncing around the pasture. Momma and the twins have been bedding down near Harley's stall in the trees, so as we walked by heading to the arena, the babies bounced up into action. Momma led them around the tree line a while, but unfortunately for her, she got closer to the arena, not farther. Harley perked an ear their way when the babies sprinted out of the trees, bouncing around the pasture. No wild reaction, but fun to watch the twins play anyways.
Finally, in one of his "I don't wanna turn" moments, Harley and I met up with a snake! About two foot long, unidentified only because I didn't hang out long enough to ID. Snake was heading out of the arena, and I kept Harley down to the other end of the arena after we found him. No need meeting the slithery fellow again.
He was showing some signs of boredom, evident through his general lazy trot, unwillingness to turn on a large circle without drifting in or out. So, I figured I'd make things more interesting. Back to the walk to catch his breath, I turned him up a quarter line, and gently asked for a leg yield. After a little protest and certain confusion on his part, Harley gave a little yield to the rail. Perfect! We repeated this a few times each way at the walk, and each time got a better response.
I went back to the trot, and did serpentines and direction changes. Things got much, much better. With time, though, Harley got stubborn and bored again. I got a little brave, and bored myself. Decided to try the yields at trot.
Fantastic! Even better! With no hesitation, and a little leg, Harley immediately stepped over twice, yielding to the rail at trot. I was shocked. So shocked, in fact, I did it about a half dozen times each direction. I couldn't believe it went so well.
We ended the ride with turns on forehand , turns on haunches. I figured it was a good time to show him why he's been doing those things. His responses were amazing, again.
It's all in the saddle ... And I'm starting to feel like a heel for those nights I argued with him for so long in the dressage saddle, frustrated he wasn't responding or giving to contact.