I rode on Sunday arvo - took Sam for a walk and he seemed happy. Happy to stride out and happy to be out and about. Missed riding Monday so Tuesday arvo I made time to ride. I thought I would take Sam out to the reserve and go for a long relaxing walk with some easy trot and canter. That wasn't Sam's idea! We started off at a brisk walk and this time I thought we would enter the reserve the way we have been exiting. This meant we had to walk 900m down the road and go through the bottom gate. No probs, though the concrete drain in a driveway that we pass is a scary thing. Once we entered the reserve we had a walk around the dam and said hello to the sheep, then I thought we could go for a trot along the track, this was extremely forward and tense. I could feel Sam wanted to let loose, poor bugger just wanted a good canter/gallop and maybe kick up his heels I think. I did not want this so bought him back to a walk. Once we reached an area where I could put in a few circles I asked for trot again. Once again too forward and excited so I asked for a large circle to the left. Keep in mind to the left was the way we were having problems with on the lunge. He really didn't show any signs of being in pain - awesome.
So we would trot along the trail but if he felt too forward I would put him on a circle. That only seems to work for a bit with Sam then he gets cranky so I asked him to trot up the steep hill - try and wear him out a little, walk back down and see what we have. A little better, a little more controlled but still not nice. I popped him into canter that he bounded into. We were able to canter down the trail and then onto a circle if required. I only cantered him on the right rein as I wasn't brave enough to try the left just in case an issue arose. I concentrated on me - relax through my seat, don't grip with my knees, keep my lower leg off him, give with my hands. This all helped. I find if I stop thinking about what he is doing and concentrate on me and what I am doing he settles and relaxes!!!!!!
We cantered up the steep hill and I pushed him up - asked him to really stretch out up there. Back to a walk and time for the long walk home to cool down. This also wasn't in Sam's plan. We were near the gate to go home but I wanted to go through the bottom gate that we had entered through. Sam's way of objecting is to slow right down and try to turn in a largish circle back in the way he wants to go - after a reminder that we weren't going home that way he started to stride out again.
This afternoon I was able to ride again and this time I wanted to stay at home in the 'arena' . We walked around and I asked Sam to stretch down and bend around my inside leg. To the right no problem but too the left, very stiff. I did a few leg yields to help and moved up into a trot. I didn't want collection just a swinging trot with a stretching down frame. It wasn't consistent but he was certainly trying. In one area of the 'arena' and only on the left rein Sam would shorten his stride, raise his head and sort of jump up in the front. HHMMM was he still sore? I asked for things on the left rein in other parts of the arena and no objection but once again coming to this one area he would jack up again. I just kept riding him through it. At one point this area became bigger! I was getting a little concerned so asked my other half to come and watch - moral support. He said he looked tight, stiff when I was working him on the left rein. I asked him to canter on the left rein. Transition was horrible but I just wanted forward. I finally achieved this. The frame was heavy but I didn't care it was forward. I asked for canter to the right. He was so heavy so I asked for halt. Walk four strides and canter. Half a circle in canter and then halt once he became heavy again. Walk four strides and canter. Every time he became heavy, halt. I only had to do this a few times and he became lighter so I let him walk it out. He doesn't have the strength to be light the whole way around the arena but he doesn't have to lean like a steam train either. I was really happy this worked but what I was really excited about was that I was able to get a canter from a walk. Once again not pretty but he was moving off my aids!!!!
I am floating Sam to my instructors place tomorrow for a lesson so we will see how we go. New place, floating, a lesson, I am sure we will be fine! I would like to wash Sam for his lesson but it is so cold here at the moment - too cold to wash so he will have to have a really good groom in the morning. Also I hope she will be able to tell me if she thinks he is sore or just putting on a turn.
My shelter was started yesterday!!!!!! Very exciting!!!! This is what it looked like Tuesday afternoon - that is Steve the gentleman that is building it.
This is what it looked like at the end of today - that is Gull in the background wondering what I am doing.
My other half has been changing gates over for me.
And little Wilbur thought it was too cold today to come out and play........