Wednesday, L from Viva Carlos came over to meet Scarlet and ride. It was so freaking fun. I got on first to warm up Scarlet. It’s something that I think is a good rule for anyone. If the owner of the horse won’t ride first, then you shouldn’t get on the horse. Of course, if you have ridden that horse before that’s another story.
Scarlet was using his guest manners and was well behaved for our warmup. I made sure to add some bending into the warm up as I thought he would probably be a bit more stiff than normal after not being ridden for most of two weeks. I was also a little concerned because he lunged a tad bit tender after his shoeing on Tuesday but he didn’t show anything on Wednesday. I asked if L wanted to hop Scarlet over any of the jumps. They were mostly set to tiny crossrails and a vertical that he could jump. She said she was up for it. So I hopped Scarlet over the crossrails a few times, just to make sure he wasn’t going to do his surprise huge jump. He was good so I handed the reins over to her.
There is always some anxiety/nerves associated with showing off your horse. I wasn’t looking for approval of anything or worried about her judging me, but there was still some nerves. L hopped on, adjusted her stirrups and rode off. Scarlet was focusing on her better than I had expected. I think Karen was a surprise to him as it has been a long time since I had anyone ride him but me. After that warm up ride a bit ago, he settled into a different person in the saddle quickly.
I sat up in the chair and watched L go around. My stupid phone had too much memory taken up so I didn’t get as much video as I would have liked but I got several short snippets and a handful of pictures. When I had been warming up, I was telling L just a few things about how Scarlet rides. (He honestly is an easy ride for just going in circles. Anything complicated, you have to convince him that he needs to work.) Flying changes came up and I mentioned that I didn’t think Scarlet had any. At least, I’d never installed them and I’m not 100% sure I could ask correctly anyways so I never bother. So she got him going in a canter, did a little loop and boop. Wait, did he just nicely change? Yes, yes he did. That was pretty cool to see. It was his bad lead to his good one. The good to bad he didn’t like. I kinda expected that, as he is really stiff/weak on his right side. I’m working on it and it is getting better but it takes a lot of time.
L also popped him over some of the crossrails and the verticle that was setup. He did very well. While he didn’t look like he overly rushed, he definitely popped his head up still when focused on the jumps. Someday, we will get it so he doesn’t try to crush your nose when we jump.
It was a very fun day and I’m so happy to show off Scarlet, since he is so important to me. Anyway, see the bottom of the post for a huge slideshow of images from that day.
Friday I did a bunch of transition work. I noticed that Scarlet was not as responsive as I would have liked when we were working on Wednesday. I tried to mix it up. Walk-halt-walk. Walk-trot-walk. Trot-halt-trot. Canter-trot-canter. One walk-canter transition. He listened well but it wasn’t engaged like I wanted for the majority of it. I need to make sure that I practice transitions with him more and insist that he not hollow as soon as I ask for a transition.
We also counter-cantered a bunch on both leads. We had been practicing a bit of counter-canter recently so I wanted to see how we would do with that. We mostly did well but somehow, I have accidentally trained Scarlet to drop to a walk when I say “Good boy”. Sure I praise him after hard stuff but I didn’t think that I dropped to a walk every time. We ended up having to fight a bit more than I wanted to get the loop of counter canter I wanted. If anyone had been near the ring, they would have laughed at me as I did that loop with a lot of leg and continuous “Good boy”s.
Saturday I wanted to work him stretchy and loose. I want to make sure that he gets stretched after we work hard. He really stretched out in the canter after I gave him a bit more rein. I think I may have to warm up with a stretchy canter from now on. He wasn’t well balanced, but he moved really free. We normally stretch the walk and trot easily but not the canter. Gotta do them all I guess.
For myself, I tried to focus on doing my two-point a bit. I two-pointed at a walk and… well it wasn’t a disaster but it wasn’t great. Lots of mane grabbing and wobbling. I trotted him over some poles on the ground and two-pointed there. Going over the poles, I felt more stable than when we were just going around. My legs kept feeling like they were sliding back while I was in the two point. It was frustrating, to say the least. I also really have little control over what Scarlet is doing. I have general direction and speed but not much besides that. If I wanted to correct or do something more, I lost the two-point. I know it will improve with work but I really didn’t feel like I was in the right position. After we cooled off, I halted Scarlet and tried to hold the two-point while timing myself. I held it for half a minute and then felt my legs sink a bit and I felt more stable all around. I could move my arms and let go of the mane and wiggle a bit. I think my upper body was still a little more forward than it should have been but it was much better. I only held that for 1:25. A starting point. Nowhere to go but up from there. I also realized I need to stretch a lot more than I do. My hamstrings need to be able to stretch down more to get a more solid base. So much to work on!