Well, not so much bragging as waxing poetic, however briefly, about our lovely little ride today.
The setting: Beautiful blue skies and warm sun, with some occasional brisk breezes and absolutely perfect footing in the outdoor arena. We rode in our hackamore for the first time in a couple weeks, since the wonderful lady who lets us use her bit-less bridle was there today to ride her own sweet Dusty boy; I think it's just bad form to slap her horse's bridle on Miles while she's there, yes?
Anyway, Miles was relaxed and happy and comfortable. We lunged for about 2 minutes in the indoor and then I mounted up. Judy and LaShore were also there, so we walked our ponies outside to the outdoor arena, where we had such a great time. Trot work in both directions was super, although he was making me laugh as he tried to rest his head in my hands (as he liked to do occasionally with the bit-less); when he found it significantly less comfortable with the hackamore he would shake his big moose head briefly, sigh, and resign to holding himself up. This, along with the awesome footing, made his gaits feel better then ever. I literally could just *think* canter to the left and he stepped into a floating, rocking horse gait I could ride all day. Ah, so that's what uphill feels like:) He was feeling so good and forward I could almost hear him asking to move up into the canter as well...we've had a nice rapport going on lately.
To the right? Well, we're still struggling with the lead-it's obviously the thing I want the most help with at the clinic this Saturday. I can get him moving forward and straight and bending nicely in the corners at the walk and trot, but if we don't get the canter RIGHT when I ask for it, he drops his inside shoulder and we pick up the wrong lead. Ah, well, we are at least WORKING on it, and he was sweet and compliant and happy to try and do what I asked every time. I won the Best Horse For Me Lottery with this one, for sure.
I'm going to continue to alternate both the bit-less and his hackamore to see which we like best. Judy said she was talking to her cowboy friend recently about our bitting issues (and I say cowboy with lots of respect!), and he mentioned that geldings and stallions have a set of teeth where the bit lies, and some boys have more prominent teeth here than others, or the teeth sit in a more inconvenient place for the bit. With these horses, the only way they can be comfortable in a bit is if it sits HIGH in their mouths, really pulling their lips back. I don't know if I would ever want to ride him like that, but it might be interesting to see if that really is the issue. Wev, there's no time-line for this stuff, and I'm having fun experimenting with our bit-less options right now.
Here, have a video of Miles and LaShore gallivanting-I took it from my car as I was leaving the barn, so it's horribly far away, but it makes me smile, especially how LaShore is trying so HARD to get Miles to engage, and in the end he just kind of...walks away:) This is how they behave when they're not being perfect riding partners for Judy and myself, har har:) Also? Thank GOD the pastures only looked like that for a couple of days. It's amazing what a little sun can do. For a pasture, for a person, for a horse.