Lesson: very good. Tris came out much more limber and willing to walk on, which makes the fourth or fifth ride in a row he's been like that. I am beginning to suspect either that he's turned some kind of fitness corner OR that my redoubled efforts to keep him constantly supplied supplements have paid off. Perhaps some combination of both.
It was pounding rain, so one of those "ride for fifteen minutes then go stand with T. to get advice and direction for a few minutes" lessons. Which was good for us yesterday. My focus was on fixing the long legs/light seat conundrum (I'm getting small glimpses of the solution, but really wrapping my legs around him still makes my seat feel too light) and on keeping a good, solid, consistent hold of the contact. We've been slipping into a tendency lately where he gives, and I throw the reins at him because I'm so happy he's given more. I'm either too heavy or throwing them away, I guess. But T. worked very hard with us on really setting the bit in his mouth, and then rounding him up TO it, the operative concept being that there has to be something for him to go to. I had to get over my nagging worry of blocking him in front, because with leg support he really can figure it out now - he's over the "but if you have any hold at all I can't moooooooove" phase.
He's also changed tactics in the lazy department: instead of killing the motor when he gets round and bendy, he is, as T. put it, "popping the clutch." He disengages in a very subtle way, then slowly loses energy over the course of the next five minutes. So: rhythm, rhythm, rhythm.
Canter was AWESOME, we're really digging in and working on it. Spent a long time really working on a hips-to-hands balancing to make him SIT DOWN. The left lead transition is really starting to come along, but he still flails all the hell over the place in the right lead. We did a lot of walk-trot, halt-walk transitions, focusing on staying deep and keeping bend, with the hopes that nailing it in those lower gaits will start to translate up the scale.
Before the lesson I was fussing over him and noticed that his right front fetlock was a wee bit swollen and warm. Nothing that would leap out, clearly just above the joint and not tendon-related - all in all it looks like he wrenched it a bit in pasture. He wasn't tender on it at ALL (believe me, I poked and prodded for quite a while, and then T. did as well) and he came out perfectly even and sound. I am mildly worried, but not desperately so. Something to keep an eye on.
I rubbed Sore No More in before and after the lesson, made sure he got a looooooooong walk warmup and cooldown, and mixed him a bran mash with 2 grams of bute paste. (Somehow my bute powder has disappeared from my tack trunk. Not cool.) He was decidedly less than pleased by the bute paste, and made every face you can imagine - twisting his jaw, sticking his tongue straight out the side, shaking his head around, rolling his eyes back in his head. If he could have gagged dramatically he would've.
Ride again tonight - keep an eye on the fetlock - and then Dover Saddlery on Saturday for a big shopping trip (new tall boots, ugh). Cross country clinic on Sunday at Scarlet Hill. I'm going to mail my entry form for the Area 1 Safety Clinic this weekend. I'm also toying with the idea of an Intro to Foxhunting clinic coming up in June...it's the same weekend as Valinor, so that's a tough decision - haul and volunteer, or find a buddy and do the clinic? Both are very appealing. :(
I'm going to see about finding a dressage schooling show in July, then the Flatlands show in August, then in the fall for sure we'll do a hunter pace, another dressage show, and mayyyyyyybe, if the summer goes REALLY well, an off-property schooling horse trial. Fingers crossed!