Tropical Storm Arthur made his presence known today, but luckily it was after my ride. I was in the middle of grazing Sox when the sky opened up again so we hung out in the rain a bit, but it was just rain, no lightning or heavy winds. Today was supposed to be my last lesson with my trainer before she has her baby, but she decided to work next week too, so we have one more lesson together until sometime after the little baby is born. She wants our last lesson to be a jumping lesson, so that is something to look forward to.
Today’s lesson was GREAT. (Last week’s lesson was pretty great too, so maybe the pattern will hold through next week!) My canter actually felt like it is starting to come together. I couldn’t believe it. It’s far from perfect, but certainly getting better. I don’t know why I am having such a hard time with this stupid gait, but I really am moving much slower in my progress in this area than I “should” be. Of course, “shoulds” don’t really matter. I was able to do a few smaller laps, not quite a 20 meter circle, but I circled about 1/3 the arena today, and then continued on around the whole arena. Sox slowed down and thought about stopping a few times, but I was able to put some leg on and keep him going. I was also able to keep him out at the rail for the most part too! WoOt! 🙂
We did some figure 8’s over some trot poles before we finished up with the cantering. Sox kept trying to rush over the poles, and when I rode him yesterday, he broke out in a canter half the times we went over them, so we walked on my half-halt today. I need to learn how to steady him, how to slow him down and how to not death-grip when he doesn’t necessarily listen to me. It went pretty well. He definitely keeps me on my toes by pushing the boundaries in a “nice” way. For example, when I am coming back down from a trot to a walk to reorganize myself, he will stretch his neck down low and pull the reins from me, or drop to the inside of the circle big time as soon as I am not actively doing something. Which is totally normal behavior, but it’s more of a recent thing with me and Sox. My trainer said that Sox is a good teacher because he seems to know when someone is really, really new and is very well behaved for them. But as he decides that his humans know what their doing, he expects more of them and will keep testing them to make sure they are using everything they have learned. So keep those legs on to keep Sox at the rail and don’t throw the reins away just because you need to reorganize yourself… Got it.
I know I have mentioned that Sox isn’t the most affectionate before, and that hasn’t changed or anything. 🙂 But, he has been showing me more of his style of affection. He will rub his head on me when I get him from the paddock and when I am done riding him. Just 1-2 rubs, and most likely because his forehead is itchy, but he doesn’t use just anyone to itch himself on, so that’s cool. Also, he gives me little mini nickers. Sometimes when we are walking around the property when we cool down, sometimes when I am grooming him. Today he was giving me the nickers when I shared my gatorade with him at the wash racks. I have to wash his forehead and mane with a special shampoo and usually it’s a fight, but today, I started out with just petting him and was able to keep him calm, and even almost happy the whole time I washed his face. Rinsing went almost as well too. I love taking care of him, but I hate stressing him out, and washing his face has been stressful in the past, so it was really nice to have today’s bath go so well. After, I took him inside and dried him off really well, sprayed his hooves and doused him in fly spray. Then we decided to brave the rain and go grazing. Sox didn’t seem to notice that it was a little wet out. He probably only noticed that for once, it was not 100 degrees out!
I’ve attached a picture of Sox from earlier this year. He just keeps growing on me, I really do love this guy.