I honestly think this is what he is the absolute best at. He is relaxed and confident for the most part, although unusual things can catch his attention and occasionally cause a spook, like the flags on recumbent bikes. (And freaking green wrought iron benches). But for the most part, he loves to explore new country. He loves to revisit places we haven't been in a while and lets me know when he is bored with the same section of trail. He is so willing under saddle and we are at our most connected during trail rides.
I am hoping that this attitude and try will carry over to the endurance field without making him unhappy. We can travel distances at the trot, which I will need to work on this winter and spring, and his "big trot" is between 10 and 12 miles per hour. I just need to get stronger and more able to ride MILES rather than feet at that pace. We shall see how it goes.
We are definitely getting better at dressage. Ashke is more willing to maintain contact with me and I am trying to develop the skills to ride better, keep my leg and seat cues subtle and my hands quiet. He loves being in lessons and trying to do the fancy stuff correctly. I like it because it has made him so much stronger and able to use his hind end properly. And no pain in his body, as determined by both how he is moving under saddle and his conversation with the communicator. I intend to continue with taking lessons (we both love it) but also to get him back out onto trail to develop the stamina and endurance I feel like we may be slipping on.
Sweet, Affectionate and Playful
He is affectionate and verbal, playful and easily bored. I am really trying to figure out how to get out to ride him five days a week, but can only seem to truly manage four. I know he would love to see me every day, but it just isn't possible. He can be difficult at times when we are riding alone and he certainly knows how to get my goat, but for the most part he is a willing and capable partner. Time will see us develop the skills we need to do whatever we want, which is something that we both need to decide on.