I make every effort to be forthcoming about my actual level of riding, and in case you're not sure, I am currently showing USDF Introductory Level and attempting to school Training Level. A simple search shows that there are fewer upper level riders out there. Given the vast number of blogs, this means that either every blogger is a pro, or the majority of riders are actually near where I am. This is not surprising since it's difficult to be the best, and few make it that far. I have run several 5Ks and a six miler, but a marathon runner I am not. So when I post something like Riding on a Cloud, take it with a grain of salt.
And with that ...
Speedy G gave me some awesome moments while schooling on Sunday. It took a while to get them. We spent a solid thirty minutes tracking left. He fussed the entire time. He just doesn't trust the contact and insists that I be as light as possible. He is extremely difficult to ride because you can't balance on his mouth ... which is a good thing! He forces me to balance myself as I am helping him to balance. Not an easy task. It's all about breathing and relaxing and finessing the rein. If I am heavy, he braces and resists. If I am too soft, he takes advantage. In order for him to be really soft and connected, my contact needs to be as light as if I am riding with reins made of thread. When we get it, wow!
After a half hour of fussiness, we walked and moved on to the right side circle. Instant connection, balance, and softness. I cued for the canter ... a bit of a hop, but then we were on the cloud. For any horse, at any level, it would have been considered a very lovely canter. He was round and utterly balanced. I let the reins go just slightly and yep, he was carrying himself. I didn't want to stop, but his reward is always a rest for getting the answer right. I circled once or twice, took a long deep breath and sat just a bit. He softly came back into a balanced trot and we slowed to a walk. Wow.
Hoping to capitalize on his correct work, we returned to the left. He still fussed and slightly resisted the left bend, but it was much improved. I cued for the canter and he offered a somewhat better transition. It took him a few strides to collect himself, but we did get some nice, balanced strides of canter. Not as nice as when we tracked right, but still acceptable. The downward transition was balanced, yeah for him, and we finished with some stretchy trot strides.
And of course, he got lots of Good Boys! He loves to hear when he's done it right. He gives a big sigh, and he gets a very mellow look on his face. Goof ball!