I took Wednesday off from work since I have to work this weekend for inventory. Yippee... not really. Anyway we were able to go to ride Comrade. I really wanted feedback from my Mom about how to proceed with his training.
Comrade was ready to go and did not want walk to warm up. I put him through his paces to show Mom. After watching, she worked with me to get him stepping under better with the hind end. We have impulsion and a kind of connection, but now he ready to move on. Canter shows his gaps quickly. With Mom's help we improved really well in the left lead. Thinking straight, then corner, then move on made Comrade sit and push while lifting his back. In the right lead straight was an issue. Comrade wants to lean on the outside rein creating a constant bend in his neck making me do all the work and allowing him to cheat. I had to think hard about keeping him straight. We made some headway.
Then I handed the reins to Mom. She is more able to close doors, so to speak, that Comrade is using for evasions. She was surprised by how much weight she had to carry in her hands in order to block him. Watching me ride, she said Comrade did not seem that heavy. Contact is a funny thing that can manifest as light or heavy depending on how the horse is at the time. Comrade will start heavy, but then end on a lighter contact. I was glad to hear she was having the same feelings. Mom worked counter bend, leg yield and some shoulder in. Peggy and I laughed as Comrade grunted his way around the arena. All the Cobs I handle grunt when asked to work hard or when stating their opinions. The work was tough and new, but I never got the feeling he was overwhelmed. Where he used to fight learning now he fully absorbs what is taught. When she transitioned down to walk, Peggy noted he still had a happy swish to his tail and hop in his stride.
Mom's opinion is that we have been on the right track. I need to up my intensity and be firmer in how I ask. In lateral work, he needs to be straight in his neck since he uses the bend to evade and cheat. This in turn will help him learn self carriage. He has figured out the connection, but still wants me to hold him. Time for him to be a big boy and learn he can hold himself. For myself, I have to work on my outside rein to block his bulging shoulder. I crawled back on to see if there was any difference. When I was able to put myself in the correct position and ask the right question we actually got the right response. No bucking at the canter and he only got a bit fast at the trot as he got tired. Just like many horse/rider pairs, Comrade and I have our compromises. Now I have to not accept mediocre answers when I know he can give better.
Comrade worked his butt off and did not have enough juice left to show Mom his jumping skills in the woods. Instead he followed Peggy like a puppy getting scratches as he cooled down. He survived being double teamed and I think he had fun.
And for those of you wondering, Winston is doing great. We put him on Bute for a couple days since he looked so sore, but soon he was running around the field. The swelling is all but gone around his cut and we are still putting antibiotic ointment and honey on it. He may have a little scar to remember the crazy day.
Now to figure out why Dottie is lame... It never ends :)