I got myself wrangled into exhibiting last-minute at a trade show this weekend. The show will be good for me, business-wise, but my first worry when I was asked to do this was, "What about Thomas?" My daughter, Lauren, will be coming home tomorrow, so I'm hoping she can keep him entertained and manage all the weird changes in feed, supplements and routine. I hope she can lunge him for at least 1/2 an hour each day, but I guess there have to be ways of dealing with this, and now is a good time to learn.
In getting ready for the show, I was very busy all day, but made sure I had time to ride. The footing had improved greatly, and Tom was better. He was reluctant still, especially to the right. I have to keep reminding him that when we go to the right it would be best if his body was ever so slightly bent that way! He was a little cranky today, and would grab the bit and pull out and up (charming, I know!) in resistance to bending. I decided to try one of the exercises I do with my baby, Willy. We go on a 20m circle and do repetitions of trot/walk transitions. I count and make it be 10 each way. It's so repetitious, they seem to settle into it. It worked with Tom. He relaxed and started giving to me more and was much less resistant. Then he had one of his "light switch moments" when all of a sudden he's easy. Forward, happy and swinging. This has been persistent for the last couple of years, throughout most of his difficulties. On good days it happens quickly; on bad days it takes forever and I often have to quit even though he is better because over an hour has passed and other things need to be done!
So once I had him in his "happy place" I was able to ask for canter. There was no resistance. No falling out of it into trot, and to the right he was loose in his back and BOUNDING along! It felt so good I couldn't resist asking for a flying change. Tried right to left (his easier way) first and that was perfect. Tried left to right and it was clean as a whistle! I gave him huge pats , hugs and kisses and put him away. While I was walking him out, he was so tickled with himself he was jigging and wanting to do more. This horse doesn't jig. He usually quits when you give him a long rein and I have to push to keep him walking!
I'm looking forward to Monday when I can get back to this. I hope the break will be good and not act as a setback. Look for my next post then. Have a great weekend!