The rain I was anticipating never came today, so in between walking the dog and cooking dinner, I rode two horses in the field! one at a time of course...
Fin first. He was a very good boy, apart from two bucking instances. Very rude! I pushed him up to trot and when I saw his forelegs start to dish I knew what would happen next. Just as well I made a deliberate effort to allow more weight down through my stirrup as we went into trot, as I thought he would buck in the transition. He bucked very high but I surprised even myself by asked him on, which I felt as a better solution than allowing him to continue to coil under me. He did it again in similar circumstance, and again we worked on as if it didn't happen. Luckily my butt never left the saddle to unseat me! He's just immense fun to be on and very pliable, I played with all sorts of bendy lateral work, and focused on being straight and not nagging with my right hand. Again, like yesterday on Quadi, I felt a little 'handsy' but he didn't curl behind so I guess it was the right strategy to contain the tickle in his toes.
Quadi, well, he stood in the yard loose whilst I groomed and tacked him. I guess he does have some redeeming features ;)
We started by doing some figure 8s, loops and serpentines on the grazed part of the paddock, which sits on a hill. not very far in I was aware of his breathing. I find hill work vital but have been frustrated by the lack of varied ground at our previous locations. I aim to be clever with the slopes of the paddock in our schooling work.
We moved onto our usual checks and balances of circling, maintaining softness through bend and transitions in and out of halt. he was a little more equal in both reins, which on reflection means he was more resistant in his left rein than usual. We worked through it as we leg-yielded in and out of our circles, trying out some shoulder-in and quarters-in too. When I asked him up into trot he didn't felt backward and threw his head up. I asked him down and to flex with big, babyish, inviting rein aids. They wouldn't have been pretty but they were sensitive despite appearances, I concentrated on my hands being of a fair height where the bit would be acting on his lips and not the bars of his gums. He tried to run through my hands, flung his head up Drama Llama-style and flicked a big buck. Not big compared to the much taller and much more lithe Fin of course ;)
After that though, he really knuckled down and yielded some great soft moments, peppered with gawping at the cows and protests that he shan't, can't and won't. As soon as he gave to me, we came back to walk and he got lots of verbal praise. We worked some more in walk and it was much softer. Of course I ask myself why we need to have this fight but he hasn't settled in here so I expected him to revert to type. Is he mentally settled enough for me to be asking him to trot in the field? Well, whether I was right or wrong, I ended on a great note before he was tired and starting to sour.
I only rode for 20 minutes so had he been fit we would have just been warmed up for proper work, but he tired physically and mentally. I gave him a long rein and walked him off, and called it a day.
Both boys were warm and a smidge damp under their girths after only 20 minutes of work. The girths are synthetic so it's partly that, but also a combination of lack of fitness and hairy bellies. Some clipping needs to happen soon!