Steele is now learning about the geometry of the ring. I've been working on straight lines, circles and bending lines. It is the straight line that creates the most problems. As I head down the centre line we start off really well but then he starts to move towards the gate. However, the straightening is getting easier each time and he responds really well to my leg.
Thursday we did figure 8's and more trotting. Today we did even more. I started off walking the shapes. I then began to trot them. It was fun. With the serpentines I would walk to change the bend to make it easier for him. Our trot is getting more steady in the rhythm the steering is much much better.
I have not yet cantered him under saddle. Today I was wondering if I was being a bit chicken. And maybe I'm on. But I realize that every time I have pushed something with him because I 'thought' I should it has never gone well. But when I've done something because it felt right it's usually worked. So I guess it doesn't matter whether I 'should' or someone else 'would'. To be honest, I'd like a ground person when I try it.
Today our ride was lovely. It's evident that he's understanding a bit more and not worried or upset. I felt very solid in the saddle (it's still wonderfully comfortable) and coordinated with my aids. Ed was mowing the front pasture with the bush hog while I rode and the dogs were bopping around. None of that phased us. I decided that it was time for a mini-hack. When I was done I dismounted and opened the gate. I then brought him back to the block to remount. He wasn't too sure and moved away twice but with corrections he stood for the third time. He was confused because he was sure that we were done. Anyway I rode him out the gate and down to the barn. I had prepared for this mentally by thinking of what could go wrong and having a plan. Because I had a plan nothing went wrong. As we walked down to the barn I asked him to halt about 5 times so he didn't get rushy. I then stopped at the barn and dismounted. I was grinning from ear to ear.
It occurs to me that if I were to put this academic terms Steele is entering his early elementary school years. It is no longer 'yay I'm sitting on him'. Now it's early training. Training that will set the foundation of the rest of our journey together.