Had a good session with Archie with Megan and Rylee there to watch. He was very tight at first, so I got off and lunged him and he came out of it quite nicely. I got back on and he had some good work. We addressed mostly him going really forward in trot, with some good success.
We had a little introduction to halt-walk transitions without raising or tightening his neck, which went really quite well.
I had a training ride on Archie. He was a little behind the leg and slightly (very slightly) snarking. We had a discussion about forward and he came nicely around to agreeing that forward with ears up was a very good idea. A few walk to canter transitions which were quite good.
Then Megan rode him and they had some beautiful, flowing walk. Lovely thing to see!
I brought him in and brushed him and tacked up. He stood well. We went out to lunge and he was a bit inattentive, with transitions taking too long to happen. We discussed the wisdom of paying attention to his handler and he improved.
Then I was taking him over to put down the lunge whip and he was leading like a dairy cow at the state fair, so we had a discussion about being light on the halter aids, which morphed into yielding his neck down when being led. That only took a few minutes but seemed to be a real key for him.
I got on and had some very nice work in all gaits and in leg yield under saddle. It went so well that he earned a walk hack down to the end of the road. (Note to self: use the camera horizontally next time. LOL)
I brought Archie in and tacked him up and he stood very well and had no incident in the cross ties. He stood politely for mounting and felt very good in his body in warmup. We did a fair bit of canter and trot with an emphasis on stretching. He is becoming a lovely horse to ride. You are doing a good job with him.
Then out for a hack. First we trotted down the hill to the end of the road, then a walk break, then cantered back up. Then out for a hack around the field and a look at the new shiny barrel jump which he was dubious about getting near, but eventually did. We didn’t jump it though. Then a nice canter in the hickory grove and long rein walk home. He would have preferred a jig home, but we discussed the wisdom in that choice and he decided to walk mostly flat-footed. He shied at a few things on the ride, including when my shoulders would touch branches, so I started purposefully moving branches every time i could reach them so that he could figure out that not everything was about him. He got better, but there is more work to do. The nice thing about him is that when he shies, he just moves one stride and stops. I’ve found that horses with this natural tendency eventually are able to get over shying almost entirely, or to the extent that any horse can.
I tacked him up and lunged him and he really looks much improved. He has a lot more muscle and is moving with more presence. Such a delight to see. I got on and he stood beautifully.
In our warm up, I sent him forward in all gaits and worked on helping him not to brace and twist through his poll with some success.
Then we went on a hack. First we trotted down the hill to where the road ends. I want him to be confident about it so that Megan can be confident about it. He did great. It should be noted that it rained a lot recently and the gravel at the shoulder is nice and soft for his hooves. Then we trotted back up the hill which he remarked was a lot of work. I reminded him he was a tb and could handle it. I think he grumbled a little at that.
Then we went out and had some nice walk, trot and canter work in the field. He was excellent! I noticed that when he is really through his body he stretches to both reins equally. This is part of the key to helping him be straight in his rein contact.
We went out for a hack with Melodie and Calvin. We started out in the arena with walk, trot and canter, which went fine. Then we walked down the hill on the road to the end near the river. He had some moments about the barricades, but he got over it. We also had an encounter with a log which he thought might have a monster in it, but he dealt with it after a bit, and the second time we passed it he remembered that it was ok. That is good news.
Then we had a bit of trot on the way back up the hill and he did very well. Then we walked back down, dealt with the barricade and log again and had a longer trot up the hill. Then we had 10 steps of canter on each lead on the road near the barn. Very good day.