Once again I rode right at dusk so no pictures... instead I'll show you these two. The first one is from August 2012 and the second one is November 2013. Can you believe how much his color has changed??
Anyway back to today. I normally don't ride two days in a row, but I decided recently that I can find a million and one excuses not to ride (too busy, out of town, gone all day, bad weather, don't feel good, etc.), so I'm not going to use not riding two days in a row as an excuse. After all he's almost five and I'm only riding for twenty minutes mostly at a walk. That isn't going to hurt him. He's not a baby anymore! I have to keep chanting that lol.
So after my doctor's visit (annual check up, nothing wrong), cleaning house, cooking supper, visiting with a friend, etc. once again the perfect time to ride was at dusk. I thought hey I feel great, the weather is great, I'm going for it! :) It was a good ride too!
Chrome started out kind of stiff so I just walked around a while. I couldn't tell if it was his feet, his back or his stifles. I was worried it was his back because I was riding bareback two days in a row for the first time ever or his feet because he's overdue for a trim because my farrier has been sick, but turns out it was his stifles. As we were walking down the driveway he tripped on one back leg and I'm pretty certain his stifle locked. He kept walking and his stride got longer, smoother and no longer hesitant. So I guess exercise helps work him out of his stifle stiffness. That's a relief!! After the initial warm up he was eager and happy to go with a great stride, so I'm just going to have to be very careful about a good walking warm up with him. I do not want his stifle to lock at a faster gait.
To start with we worked on standing still which once again he aced! He's such a pro at planting his feet and waiting for instructions from me. :) Then I did some walking around on straight lines until his stifles were warmed up, then started weaving through trees to work on steering. He did great! I still had to do baby horse turns by opening my hand wide at times, but other times he was doing great grown up horse turns. I can't wait to take lessons so my trainer can help me capture his shoulders!
After that I worked on trotting. I LOVE how even though he's lazy at the walk he immediately surges into an awesome trot with a vocal cue and light squeeze of the calf. In fact I was worried he was only responding to the vocal cue and that he had no clue what the calf squeeze meant so I tested it out. Without saying a word I gave a gentle squeeze with my calf and although it took a half second longer than usual, he surged right into a trot!! Love this horse!!!
After riding for eighteen or so minutes I spent a couple of minutes standing still working on him lowering his head. He has no clue at all how to yield vertically because I've never worked on it with a bridle from his back. He was very confused and thought I wanted him to back up (his bitless bridle feels like a halter so backwards pressure on his nose he assumed meant back up). So I started flexing him at the poll (sometimes in the neck when his poll was stiff) slowly side to side until he lowered his head, then I gave him the reins and praised him. He figured that out quick!! Then when I had his head down I asked for him to back up and he did it perfectly!! Yay!
By the way he stands with his head at wither height, but picks his head up when I take up contact, so that's why I was working on him lowering his head in halt. I hope that makes sense.... I'm confusing myself lol.
After that I hopped off and started to take his bridle off. He started to do that ducking/rubbing thing that I HATE, so I pulled the bridle back over his ear (luckily I hadn't gotten it all the way off). Then I waited for his head to be still (he likes to offer putting his head down as a way of "begging"). When his head was still I tried again and he shoved his head toward me, so I pulled it back on his ear. After another time or two he kept his head perfectly still so I pulled the bridle off and let him graze. Such a good boy. Then I gave him a really good brushing since he's shedding like crazy. He grazed until dark and then I put him up.
Sorry for the long, wordy post, but Chrome is such a good boy I can't help bragging on him. Also I want all the details of his rides for my own records. :) I really hope everyone else is having pretty weather and enjoying some ride time.
P.S. I almost forgot!! When we were weaving through trees at the front of the property by the road Chrome spotted the neighbor's horses. They are across the road, but way across one pasture, not right by the road. He stood staring at them for a long time, but he didn't neigh or get overly excited. When I asked him to go back to work (weaving through trees) he went right back to it without a fuss. Good boy! I hope he keeps his cool like that when we're around other horses that are closer to him. Also when I was working on him flexing vertically when he finally figured it out he started blowing out. He blew out around six times! So cool. :)