So last night as I was heading to bed I saw that I had a voicemail from Royce. Seems that he'd been thinking and he wanted to do a short lesson sunday morning with Steele and I. I immediately sent him a text saying 'yes' (it was too late to call).
That morning we connected and set a time for 9 a.m. So much for the plan of a quiet liesurely coffee. I dressed quickly and headed out to get Steele. He came right up to me and I brought him in to get ready. I then took him out to crop on some grass. I was pleased that he moseyed along with me and while he was clearly eying the lush grass he waited for me to take him over to graze.
When Royce arrived we tacked him up and headed up to ring. Again, Royce started with groundwork. It was interesting- although clearly mellow when he started Steele suddenly decided that he was incapable of going to the right. Royce of course clearly believed that he could. A battle of wills then ensued. I was impressed with how calm but firm he was. Steele was being a brat "sorry man, I just go counter-clockwise, not clockwise". Of course he ended up going the way Royce wanted. I was glad that that was worked out on the ground- it would be a far worse idea to have the discussion while mounted. Royce got on first and introduced the concept of short trot segments. Again, Steele was pretty balanced through it. When he lost balance he dropped back to walk and Royce waited until he was sorted out before asking again. This didn't happen often though because usually Royce asked him to walk before he lost balance. He commented on how smooth his trot was.
Then it was my turn. We did a bit with me on the lunge and then he asked if I was okay with him unclipping me.
My philosophy is that if you don't want to risk coming off then you shouldn't get on. But it should be a calculated risk.
It was fabulous to sit on him and be responsible for these first moments. The lovely thing about babies is that they telegraph where their attention is so I was able to immediately recognize when he lost focus on me and ask him to change direction. We worked on the rudiments of steering and ensuring that the brakes were working. They were pretty good if I do say so myself. Royce then suggested we stop. Part of me was all 'no, I didn't get to try the trot yet' but on reflection I decided that he was likely correct and we should finish there.
I am away at a conference this week so he has the week off. this is perfect. It will give him time to relax and absorb what was a huge weekend for both of us.