Scarlet was amazing on Sunday! I went out with the plan to maybe try a bit of shoulder in and some spiraling circles at a trot to work on stretching and lateral movement a bit. We haven’t been working on lateral movement much since I have been more focused on moving forward and feeling like he is lifting his back lately. But I want to make sure that I practice different things and work on other skills. Especially since my rides have been getting a bit monotonous lately.
We were able to get the back arena to ourselves on Sunday morning. People leave barrels and jankey poles lying in that arena all the time. Most of the time, I just ride around them but this time I wanted to be able to actually use the middle of the arena and not have to worry too much about steering around anything. I turned Scarlet out in the arena while I moved the stuff around. He got a good roll in and then just watched me move stuff. He didn’t want to come with me to the gate so I just left him there and got my saddle and stuff out at the crossties. The grain comes from the same tack room so he was tricked into thinking I had grain for him and came to meet me once I came back.
We warmed up at the walk and trot. I wanted to make sure we had lots of walk breaks since it was so hot but I still wanted to get some good work in so I decided to stick the shoulder in work during the walk break rather than after cantering. I had to correct my aids a bit but he figured out that I meant for him to walk somewhat sideways pretty easily. One side is always better than the other but we got a good half of the arena length in each side. So much better than the few steps we had done previously. I decided to ask for some leg yeild work since we were already doing lateral movement. He moved quite easily off my legs (a real shock). Our walk lateral problem has generally been that he goes too sideways. This time, we were able to get a bit more forward in there.
After the walk work, I asked him to pick up a canter and we warmed up on the right lead first. I was able to do lots of 20 meter circles at any point in the arena since I had moved all of the stuff out of it. We were in the center doing a circle when I thought “Can he spiral at the canter?”. And so I tried it. First I asked him to move toward the outside of the arena. We did, though not at as steep of an angle as we can at lower speeds. I think he wasn’t entirely sure what I was asking him. Then I asked him to spiral inward. We got to quite a tight circle before I allowed us to go back to the rail.
I was pretty stoked with his movement and decided to be really bold. I asked him to attempt a leg yeild while cantering. Now, I was really expecting almost nothing from this. I have never asked him to do this and I was not expecting him to just do it. Lateral work is hard. But he did! Not fantastic but we got about a quarter of the arena over. Twice! I was so happy with him. I let him take a walk break and then we did it on the left lead. This time, the spiral in and out was easier as he understood that I was actually asking him to move sideways. The leg yeild was about the same but I was so flipping proud of him.
After another walk break, we did some trot leg yeilds across the arena. Those could use a bit more energy but he worked so hard and listened so well that I was just super happy with the ride. I gave him a bath afterward as he was really sweaty. He didn’t appreciate that but I’m sure he felt better. He definitely liked the treats I shoved into his mouth while we were bathing.