Over the long weekend, I rode everybody. Friday brought all three horses under me. Romeo and I did some nice arena work - he tried being speedy at canter, but I quickly dug my seat into him, and he relaxed.
I found Boss's GO button - squeeze the calves. When I ride Harley and Mo, I ask for a transition, then try to leave them alone, adding seat and some inside leg to increase the gait forward. Boss would prefer I leave my legs resting on him, and squeeze him together in the ribs with both legs to increase gait. When I figured this out, he sped off in this fantastic trot forward, zippity dooo dah! The canter work was short again, but very nice. He's landing a bit toe-first in the trot up front, so we both coughed up a decent amount of dust in the ride.
Harley and I worked on all the gaits, and had a good ride, nothing spectacular. He felt a little stiff in the transitions. I worked on walk/halt transitions, and as they improved, he seemed to relax.
Saturday brought lots of sore muscles. Not my legs, as I expected (having ridden all three on Friday). No, Saturday brought sore chest muscles. As it turns out, the saddle fit change, has left me sitting very tall & upright, chest up / shoulders back, pretty much naturally. This means all those upper chest muscles that I'd learned to protect and curl up around my back are being restretched.
I grabbed Romeo, and noticed all three horses were eyes and ears up down the powerline clearing. They were anxiously looking towards the cow pasture (not the dirt road). Strange ... I rode Romeo down the road a ways, and down the clearing. Still didn't see anything, but with Romeo under me, Harley and Boss in plain view, all three horses seemed nervous and anxious. I took Romeo away from the house down the road a ways, and the farther away from home he got, the more relaxed he became. Very strange indeed.
Harley and I hit the arena, and I was convinced it'd be a short ride. My chest muscles were tight, it was a bit hard to breathe, and there was no way I was going to make it worse for Sunday. Then, as we came down long side past what would be "K", towards "E", I heard it.
POP .. .I jumped, and Harley's head, eyes, and ears all looked right down the clearing ...
Dang neighbors. There were two of them. One was driving the golf cart, the other stood up from the cart, and it looked like he shot into the air. "HEY! Look down from the shot, will ya?!" I screamed, pretty annoyed. He got back in the cart, and it started coming towards the arena. "Come on with it", I muttered under my breath. "Let's just see how this goes, you being too stupid to look past the shot, trying to kill me and my horse both." Just then, the cart swung a U-turn, either because one convinced the other it wasn't worth an argument, or because they could read my mind. The two and their cart disappeared, and I heard another POP in the direction of where they wandered off to.
Harley and I rode transition after transition, walk/halt/walk, trot/walk/trot, trot/halt. Each improved just a tad, and when they were at his best, I walked him out and quit.
Back at the house, while I was giving Harley a bath and a full grooming, POP. Gun went off again. I screamed even louder, "Do you people EVER think about what's behind the shot? *fourletterword fourletterword fourletterword*"
A tense afternoon, from shooting, to quick rides. Around dusk, Boss relaxed and quit looking in that direction. Harley and Romeo were too tired long before that, and were probably just hoping the hunters had given up for the day.