Yesterday spring finally arrived. The sun was warm and it was so pleasant to be outside. I spent the morning doing barn chores and then after lunch I decided it was time to play with the horses. I put on my breeches and went outside.
Irish took one look at me and headed out of the little paddock - he was definitely saying 'um, I think I just want to doze in the sun thank you very much'. Steele of course was hanging around. So by default he was first.
On the left rein he was lovely. Walking, trotting and halting like a pro. He has a tendency to dip in towards me on one part of the circle but I was working on that by pointing the whip at his shoulder to encourage him to move away. I then switched to the right. A little more 'ragged' but still good. But I made a mistake and my brain wandered for a millisecond. In that time frame he took off. Stupid me! But I dropped the whip, went with him and got him back under control. He then switched and went the other way. So I halted him, turned him around and sent him back to the right. But I could see the wheel's turning in his head. Sure enough, he did a quick slam of the brakes and a deke back the other way.
This was not a spook. This was a test. While I was correcting it I was considering how athletic he was. Anyway, I halted him and put him back the way that I wanted. He then tried taking off again. I brought him back and then before he could do his spin I used the whip to get him to move forward (no I didn't hit him). Hmm this was not what he wanted. Again I could see the wheel turning. As he came around I saw him drop his haunches and then take off . I was ready, going with him and keeping him on the circle and not letting him stop. Two more times this was repeated. By now he was getting a bit tired and it was no longer fun. So back to the walk and few walk-halt-walk. A scratch on the nose and we're done.
Walking back to the barn Irish decided to blast by us in the paddock. I didn't even tighten the lead. I just kept walking and said 'easy now'. Steele did a little jig sideways but never came against the lead and then settled at my shoulder again.
After that I rode Irish. He was so good in the ring that after about 30 minutes I decided to go for a hack. Apparently his energy was hiding in the woods because once we got in there he was 'up'. Not spooky (although he could have turned that way) but 'whee'. Of course the footing does not allow for 'whee'. I went on a short hack and on the way home he was trying to barge through the aids to get home. I hate that. I can't hold him because that creates a fight, I can't circle anything because there's no room so I have developed this technique- half-halt, release, count to 3 and repeat. This way I keep him with me but there's it's short so there's nothing to fight. His 1/2 TB comes to the fore in these times and trying to stop the forward motion all together is losing battle because he begins to spiral mentally and then physically. I have to let him move but in a controlled way. Once we got back to the barn he was 'oh good and tried to amble to a stop'. No way I said. Back up to the ring and more work. I cannot reward bad behavior with a break. So we worked for another 15-20 minutes. And then we were done. As for how Irish is doing he's the same. the medication seems to be keeping him on an even keel right now. Sometimes he has trouble maintaining the right canter, he really has trouble moving his weight off his forehand. It's tricky trying to find the balance of building/maintaining the right muscles without stressing his spine.
After this Ed and I tightened up the fencing. After the winter it develops some sag. We were closely inspected by Irish and Steele. d'Arcy (my border) and Belle (my aussie) kept us company as well.
By then I was sweaty, tired and dirty. All in all it was a good day.