It was a dark and stormy night . . .
We started in the indoor to get some of the snort out of him. We walked a couple of circuits, then we trotted some and then I asked him for a canter. He was like "WTF, Mom? We never canter this quick."
I slowed him and asked again. This time he snorted at me and picked it up in one stride. We cantered the rail around the indoor four times. He kept checking to see if I wanted him to slow and I kept verbally encouraging him. He was light and happy and I rode relaxed and at ease. I verbally asked for the trot and he came down, blowing and chewing.
I figured he was calm enough. I rode to the rail and dismounted. We went outside and I got back on. He is so good at standing still when I ask and not moving off until I am ready. We rode to the top of the property above the creek and between the outside fence and the horses paddocks. The hill there is not super long, but the footing is good with no rocks. We walked up and back one time to let him get the spook snorts stored in his nostrils out, then started trotting up and walking back.
I can tell this is going to have some kind of effect, since I can feel him struggling with his left front and right rear. We did five sets at the walk/trot and although he was willing, I could tell it was difficult for him, even after the dressage work. He had a really hard time bringing his head down, which I didn't force, I just wanted a nice, solid, working trot. We got there a couple of times.
After our five times up and down, we wandered around the property. We tried the gate in both directions and he was a freaking rock star. We did the bridge. We walked around the dressage court. We watched the birds. We stepped over the small ditch, which a year ago would have caused a major freak out. He remembered everything he learned last spring. We even played with the mailbox.
It was relaxed and wonderful.
I was so happy. He was happy. I think it's time for us to start trail riding and doing obstacles.
Oh, where, oh where, can my Alta be?