Sunday morning, Brett was scheduled to participate in a deployment with the mounted posse so he was up in the pre-dawn to feed and hitch up the trailer. When I got up, just after sunrise, he had already finished all the chores. There was nothing for me to do except make myself some coffee and relax. Yes, I know I'm spoiled. I do appreciate it.
Brett and Flash left at 7:30, Camille was sound asleep (and would be still for hours), and by 9:00 I had ants in my pants. Even though it was still in the 30s, the sun was out and the wind wasn't blowing so I went down to the barn and saddled up Jackson. He was waiting for me.
We start by going around the block at a brisk walk for our warm up. It takes 20-30 minutes, depending on how fast you march. I rode Jackson on the buckle but I insisted that he walk out. He was happy to oblige. Last time we were out, we went past a neighbor's property who recently installed fencing. They lined their three rail fence with no-climb fencing and now their dogs run around on the property. We've done that too. However, this was NEW. Jackson was very skeptical of the fence and then when three dogs came running up, barking, he got very high headed and prancy. So, I wasn't sure how he would be going past that area again especially since we were riding alone. He was fine. He looked over once, and then just kept marching along on the buckle.
When we got back to our place, I took him into the arena and we did some trot work. The walk had warmed him up nicely and he immediately lifted his back and stretched into the bit. We worked on trot for awhile, concentrating on keeping the frame and the rhythm and the energy. I asked him for canter and he bobbled the transition (or maybe I did). He then took it upon himself to canter at will. Um, no. Not acceptable. I am looking for a relaxed, "obedient" horse. Then he got pissy; throwing his head in the air and hopping around.
LET ME CANTER!
No, Jackson. Chill. You don't want to chill? Lets do some turns on the forehand so you listen to my leg.
No, I didn't say race backwards. I said move away from the leg. (slight, EVER so slight tap with the dressage whip at my leg). Goooooood boy. Now, the other direction.
Got your brain back? Good. Let's do some more trot work.
My, oh my, the trot work we got then. Forward, obedient, relaxed, energetic, reaching under, pushing.... heaven on a horse.
We never did attempt canter again. I want his trot to be solid. I want his brain to be relaxed. Right now, he gets far too happy and I'm not okay with him trying to dictate the gait we will work in.
Overall, it was great work. I am very pleased and he is too. When I turned him back out in the pasture, he stuck close to me for face rubs and wither scratches and lots of "good boy!" before ambling off to visit Kalvin.