I've always known that Ashke is a thinker. He wants to do what I'm asking him to do and sometimes he gets it and sometimes he needs to think about it. I ride him pretty consistently five days a week, with our focus alternating between trails and some dressage riding (although we also do dressage on the trail).
This week he had six days off. I rode him last Tuesday night up on the Mesa (when we had the tooth and tongue incident) and then he was off until last night. I thought he would need chiro and wouldn't be able to be worked on Sunday, so we made other plans. Last night was the first work in a week.
It seemed as though my boy had spent the past six days thinking about what I wanted from him when I am riding left handed. And/or the float also loosen his jaw and allowed him to respond to my requests. He was round and worked easily, with only a few moments of trying to giraffe his head, during our ride. We introduced the concept of collection and extension at the trot. We cantered easily with him listening to the neck rein requests to turn, without spiraling in on his center. He picked his lead up in both directions and we ended with working on serpentines at the trot, which he's never been able to do. He rocked the transitions from one direction to the other. He was light and responsive in the bridle.
I was pretty darn happy.
While I was in the indoor, this also happened:
J taking her first lesson with Michelle. On Mojo, who is about 8" taller than Ashke.
Mojo was a great horse for J to ride. She said that when Michelle asked her to make a change, that when she did it right, Mojo responded, which reinforced her cue. She was able to learn from the horse.
Michelle started out by walking the arena with J, right next to her and giving her constant verbal feedback. As they progressed, Michelle moved further away, allowing J and Mojo to proceed on their own.
J likes riding in an English style better than western. The way in which an English rider cues the horse for a turn, and using two hands with contact, makes more sense to her mind.
Mojo is an honest, good-natured horse who knows his job. And he knows how to teach the rider. Those are wonderful characteristics in a lesson horse. Michelle teaches in a way that connects with J, and J loves her dry sense of humor. (I personally adore Michelle - she makes me laugh). The lesson was an astonishing success and J is eager to do another. We have it scheduled for next Monday night.
Now J just needs to remember to breathe.