Thanks to the wonder of iPhone, this picture makes it look brighter than it actually was…
The sun is sinking pretty early this time of year and by the time I got in the tack with Leo, it was a bit beyond sundown. Regardless of the dark it was a lovely evening as November goes, so I proceeded for a walk hack down the road toward the river. It was very peaceful. He’s a little tender on the gravel so we stayed on the edges.
Then we went for a hack around the prairie in all gaits, followed by taking his bridle off and letting him graze some of the grass in the meadow.
I tacked up and Kelly on Elsa and Leo and I went for a dusky ride around the prairie, stopping for some trot and canter work in the hickory grove where he was quite good. Then we hacked around the rest of the paths.
It was a breezy and cool evening which makes one wonder if winter can be far behind. For some reason I could not find his bridle so I borrowed Elsa’s and modified the size. They take essentially the same bit. We warmed up in the arena and he was stellar. We went for a hack around the meadow twice, which a fair amount of trot and canter, but some walk thrown in for good measure. He never missed his right lead tonight and was happy to go. The only catch tonight was that he thought the below patch of fountain grass was haunted. He did go by it but he was highly suspect. Good man. He also extorted a lot of peppermints out of me with his cute face.
Kelly and Elsa, and Leo and I started with some flatwork in the arena. We started a little late because we helped catch Moondancer who decided to go on a trot about the property and was having a grand time of it.
Leo was a little slow off the leg in his lateral work, especially leg yield to the left, but he got better and better with patient work. As a result of that suppling, the right lead canter was very nice.
Then the four of us went out on a hack to the cemetery. He was delightful. His tempo and rhythm are a treat to ride and we all had a wonderful time! Afterwards he got a nice rinse. I offered him a chance to roll in the arena, but he was more into going into his stall and having supper, which I couldn’t argue with!
It was a beautiful evening for a hack out and we started with a brisk walk down and trot back up the hill. Then we did canter work in the meadow, including walk canter, which is a really good exercise for him in muscle building and might be good for you for really learning about positioning the horse’s body for depart. He did very well.
Then we hacked in the hickory grove and he mentioned that he would like to eat the thistle flowers on the way home. Some horses love them!
I rode him out with Kristen on Sif. She needed to work on her horse leaving another horse on a trail ride and her horse being left by another horse on a trail ride, so we got a lot of trotting and cantering in, as well as waiting around while she went away, during which Leo got to eat some nice prairie grass.
In our forays away, we addressed right lead canter, which is a little harder for him, so he tends to ignore the aid for it as if he doesn’t hear. Probably a fitness thing. It works to put him in haunches in, or one could think to remember to use the outside leg to hold the haunches steady. Attention to keeping the outside seat bone back also helps.
We worked in the indoor with Archie and Megan for a while at walk and trot. Then we went for a walk hack down to the end of the gravel road. Then we had some walk, trot and canter work in the prairie. I see what you are talking about with the right lead. He would rather take the left, so even if your timing is right, he waits a beat and takes the left. I carried a stick (ok, a boxelder branch that I snagged) and used it once lightly behind my right leg on canter depart for right lead and then he was spot on.
This was supposed to be a cute shot of his face, but he came closer quickly and it turned into a wanna-be artsy horses-are-mystical-creatures eye shot. LOL.
I worked with Leo on the flat with Kelly on Elsa and Megan on Archie. We worked in all gaits and Leo did well, though he mentioned that the load of hay that was standing in the middle of the arena looked delicious! Then we went on a hack around the meadow, using all gaits and he was great. On the way home we all stopped and let them graze. I took off his bridle and let him eat a bunch and also hand-picked him some for enjoying back in the stall. Nice day for all!