Danimal is such a superstar! I really did get lucky with this kid. He's just so easy! He hasn't been ridden since our lesson on Sunday with Kelly. So today I hauled him to Ashland and tacked him up. I did a "crouching tiger" both ways and backed him up a few steps and got on. There were no antics this time. We headed up to the stadium ring with Peri for some riding. He was the teeniest bit rowdy starting out but really not bad at all. We worked on our homework - not falling behind the leg, paying attention to me by changing direction a lot, baby counter canter serpentines (And I mean VERY baby... like barely yielding out), and connection. Oh, and our downwards. He was super good. He was pretty forward and the few times I closed my leg, he went. :) He is getting the connection idea. And he gave me a quite decent little counter canter serpentine too! We just weaved slightly in and out of the poles, but it was quite balanced! We also worked on that head. He likes to hold it cockeyed at the canter especially. But I also realized that he throws me to the outside, so if I focus and sit centered, and use my inside leg to my outside rein... viola! He comes into the connection almost proper-like and starts to have a much nicer canter and a much less crooked head. Yay! We cantered a good bit today and worked on our downwards too. Yay! And Peri was jumping around and he was only naughty a time or two. Pretty impressive feat for a 3.5 year old.
So then we went for a long hack in the woods. He was good out there too and we mostly just walked. We hit the big field behind Halfshire and I mentioned that I was tempted to try cantering him in the open. Peri said I should since he had already worked in the ring and seemed pretty chill. And Tess was in heat so she was SUPER chill. So it was a good time, so I figured why not?! I had my dressage saddle on but thought that might be helpful. So I took him for a spin. He cantered quite politely even when I offered him more rein and was going to allow him to open up. Nope.. he just kept cantering politely. We went both directions. So then Peri took a spin or two and I decided to try once more and encourage him a bit more to open up. Hee hee... It was AWESOME! We cantered around and then saw that Peri was waiting at the top of the hill. So I turned him up the hill and asked him to move out a bit. And he did!! He opened up his stride, let our a few bucks, and then took off. Wheee!! It was fun but then I got a little worried I wouldn't stop him. I sort of kind of had to run him into Tess. Hee hee. Not really, but he wasn't stopping til he got to her. But he didn't get to open up completely. It was a blast though and he enjoyed himself too.
Then we headed home and he walked on the buckle like it was no big deal. :)
Oh.... such a good kid!! We're going to have so much fun together!