10-21 I put tiny little nubby spurs on, and hopped on Harley without a warmup. Knowing he'd worked the day before, his mind should be in the game, and it was. He felt a little stick of the spur, and got down to business. It felt still like he was s-l-o-w, but hoofprints said he was tracking up. Collection, I wondered? A good ride, a few short go's at canter (long enough to get the point across, but short enough to prepare for what may be Intro C someday).
10-22 Harley missed one lead at canter-left. No spurs Saturday morning, but again things felt light. I listened to hoof beats on the ground, and the prints again said "tracking up". Thinking and pondering, I worked more on working walk to free walk. Better, though not where I'd like it to be.
10-23 I was bold, and brave. A very brief free longe warmup, and I hopped on bareback. He very quickly answered my "collection question". I felt back muscles tighten underneath me. Interesting! Very Very interesting. I pushed him into a trot, then tried to sit the trot, measuring his give to the bit and his mind. Good results yet again. After a little protest (from uncertainty I'm sure), Harley and I were tracking up at a sitting trot around the arena. Not a chance that's going on without some collection.
Then the moment of pure fun. Sit back, squeeze, kiss.
Canter left. Light, and gentle. Harley's head was up, and his back felt a bit hollow, but he was cantering, with no saddle. This leaves my body no choice but to drive with my seat. I find it difficult to "ride light" without a saddle. I have really only one option, and that's to sit deep and keep my legs active. For the down transition to trot, I put more of my weight in front of my seat than in it, but that was only a stride to three before we were back to a sitting trot.
More of the same going right. What that work did was a few things..
*Accomplished a huge milestone in Harley's training - work on bit contact, all three gaits, minus saddle
*Got us CANTERING around the arena bareback
*Put me in a place to feel the collection.. to feel those back muscles rise underneath me.
*Reminded me that, even though I think I'm in shape, I'm not there 100%. My lower back and my legs cried when I hopped to the ground. I swore Harley was chuckling at me, with his big long yawns as I switched him from bridle to halter.
A good yummy cookie for Harley... Lots of pats and praise... For Harley, that is. For me? Hot bath with soaking salts... and lots of sleep.