So, I went out and bought His Highness a pair of Cavallo Simple Boots.
Sir was feeling ouchy on the gravel driveway and parking lot at the barn, both of which he has to navigate to get to the indoor and outdoor arenas, so Sir now has some first rate protection, WITH optional gel inserts, natch.
I had used them once before, just for 20 minutes or so in the outdoor arena, which is very deep and sandy, and they worked great. Today was spitting rain, muggy and BUGGY (have I complained about the bugs yet?), so we worked in the indoor ring, which has good footing but is considerably less deep.
So, as to be expected, Miles is lifting his front legs slightly higher with his new shoez. WOW did I feel the difference today! His trot almost felt passage-y - very bouncy/springy (in a good way), and I found myself posting slowly even though we were covering ground well. And boy, did I feel like I was alllll over the place. I pulled myself together, tried to unlock any areas (knees, hips) that felt stiff, get Miles driving more forward than up, and got us to a place that felt much better. How funny though! My thoroughbred with the flat kneed-daisy cutter trot has suspension, who knew? I think I'll be sore tomorrow, but that just shows how much more I should be riding and working out, sigh.
We had a bit of an issue with his right lead canter, which I figured would happen at some point. He's getting stronger and stronger though, so that will help, and I need to make sure he's either straight or slightly bent inside (neck AND body) before asking for the transition. His left lead continues to be a joy to ride and gets better and better. I could ride that canter all day....
Contact is coming along well, in that I'm finally asking for it rather than letting him tool around in a nice long and low frame. Time to get off that forehand. For most of the ride, until we started working on the right lead towards the end, he was great with the bit-some chewing, which is what I want, but no grinding or rooting (grabbing the bit and stretching his neck down), so I was super happy with that. I still can't wait to really work him in his english hackamore, just to see how he does with no bit at all.
The Belmont is being run in about 20 minutes-here's to a safe race! I've got no favorites this year. I have a love/hate relationship with racing anyway, which I'd love to write a post about sometime. Sure would be nice to see a Triple Crown Winner in my lifetime though:)
Hope everyone is having a great weekend! I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures of Miles, looking towards the future in his first couple of days with me at his new home.
UPDATE: race is over, everyone appears to be OK, and the beautiful chestnut Drosselmeyer wins at 13-1!