Saturday, February 1, 2014


Some years back there was a mustang with a professional eventing trainer. I think he was featured on Eventing Nation. I remember him because his show name was "Must Tango." Get it? MUSTANG GOOOOOO!

Anyway! Tris maybe was taking some inspiration last night, because he was, as they say, hot to trot from the first moment I sat on him. We had to have a conversation about standing politely at the mounting block until I settled into the saddle, even. (I know some people are ok with horses moving off as they find their second stirrup; I am not, and Tristan darn well knows that.)

It was a different challenge than I ride 95% of the time: how to manage the fired up quick horse rather than the lazy solid horse. He took a half-halt easily enough, but he totally killed the motor when he did so. It was a bit whiplash-inducing, going from a speedy horse to a stalled out one, and it took some negotiation, but once he agreed to take a half-halt and use it as intended, loading his hind end with energy instead of just expending it by going fast, he lifted his back and came through beautifully.

We did not do much fancy work, honestly: some leg-yields, some changes of direction on the diagonal. We spent some time working on staying straight on circles, and changing flexion back and forth, spiraling in and out on circles.

We had some long(ish) conversations in the canter about paying attention to me, and taking a half-halt without flinging his head up and charging off in the other direction. We worked hard on staying in the circle through the outside rein; accomplished in the right lead, mostly accomplished in the left. He was hot enough in the canter that the trainer (who was teaching another lesson at the time) laughed and remarked on it.

We finished with a long forward stretchy trot session and then a fair bit of walking. He got his wind back quickly, but was still a bit warm to finish, so he got a cooler and a bit of extra hay to keep him company until he switched to his blanket and got his grain at night check.

I admit, I'm a bit mystified as to what's making him so forward and up the last few days. Coming back after a week and a half off? Having the round bale all day? Grain increases finally kicking in? Fitness hitting a new level? It could still fade away again, but I hope not. He's fun to ride like this, and it bodes well for getting good work done through the rest of the winter.

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