Oh Dan! You are phenomenal :)
He's seriously going to be a super nice horse! I just hope I'm up to the challenge of helping him be as fancy as he can be.
We had a lesson today and I took him up to the jump arena while Peri was finishing up. I probably should have done the crouching tiger and backing up before I got on, but I didn't. He was in a mood...picking on Fleck and not letting up. He kept nibbling on him and wasn't backing off. But he was good when I got on and we hacked up to the arena to watch Peri's final two rounds. I even video-ed them. The first one he was good for but was a little fidgety. The second one, Beth held him while I video-ed, so he had to be good. But you can hear him chomping on his bit. So then, Peri and I were walking with our backs to Beth and she dropped a wooden pole on the ground. It made a fairly substantial splat. Well, Dan used that as an excuse and did a shoulder drop, spin, spook move. Which caused Tess to do the same move. They both squirted out a few steps, but then stopped. Hee hee. We were giggling... Silly ponies! So then we started off on the rail and he used the butterfly bushes as an excuse and was doing the spin and spook move with bucks this time. Oh Dan. I managed to ride him through it and made him do some small circles and he settled. :)
So then Beth had me show his trot to her and then she wanted to see me canter. He actually picked up both leads quite nicely, though he also picked up a wrong lead at one point. Beth reminded me that I need to stay off his back in the canter. He's not strong enough for me to sit. I told her it was probably a defensive move as it gets so big in the fields, but that I would try. She did say to be off his back but to keep my shoulders back. And it worked. His canter improved. I also asked him for it about the way I ask Fleck and it seemed to help him get the right lead. We even did a big turn/circle. :) She said for now, to keep his canter in open areas and do big wide sweeping turns.
Danny walk, trots and canters
So then we went to work on leg yielding. He was a bit pissy about it today. And honestly, it's hard for me in the open arena because I don't have good landmarks. Once I started aiming at particular things, it was easier. I need to remember that it doesn't matter if he's leading with the haunches or the shoulders as we're only working on sideways right now. I also need to be softer on his face when he starts getting wonky and don't pull back accidentally when I tap him with the whip. But by the end, I was coordinating my aids and he was going sideways quite nicely. :) Yay! Both directions.
Then we worked on the trot in a big 30 meter circle. Beth had me spiral in and then spiral out. The key was to do it slowly and gradually. She also said I could cheat and ask him to spiral in on the part of the circle he wanted to and spiral out on the parts he wanted to. I need to really ride that outside shoulder going left though. He likes to pop that shoulder to the right and go right. Outside rein against his neck and outside leg/whip and just be strong. I need to be careful about not using my inside leg to much. He doesn't quite know inside leg to outside rein yet and is already popping that shoulder out, so I can't confuse him right now by using my inside leg. Especially since I just taught him that inside leg means spiral out! We got some really nice spirals in both directions and at the very end, he got even a bit collected and up in his back. Fancy!!! But I could tell his brain was starting to steam.
Danny spirals in and out
So then we worked on straightness and trotted over some poles. Tracking left is hard for him, so I had to work very hard to keep his outside shoulder together and keep him from drifting too far right and then too far left. And I need to ride forward so he stretches over the poles. He was good though. He tripped over them the first time and corrected it the second time, though he then tripped in the dirt. ;) Goofy.
But yep... I'm quite pleased with him. Both Peri and Beth said he's going to be quite fancy! And I think I agree with them. He already feels fairly springy. :) :)
Such a good kid. And he worked hard. Later he was passed out in the sun snoozing away. Such a tough day for the baby. :)