We had an amazing weekend! Captain the big, dark monster was fabulous for me under saddle for both days of the weekend :) We managed to do some very correct shoulder-in, he also gave me haunches in, we did some canter sets on both days, and he rode out alone, no spooks!
I have determined that he is better to his left than to his right, but that was to be expected since his right hock was worse pre-hock-injections than his left one was. He prefers to offer left lead canter over right lead, will even offer counter canter and extended trot in hopes you'll accept, but he will give you right lead canter if you push for it. He gave me very nice work on the lunge when we did a long warm up on the line Saturday morning. I am a little concerned that he may be slightly arthritic in his neck, and poll high work is a little more difficult for him. We did a good bit of long and low work on both Saturday and Sunday since poll high seemed a bit difficult for him on Saturday. A longer warm up in long and low position allowed for more effective use of his neck when we went to a slightly higher position later in the workout.
This guy definitely makes me work for it when I ask for lateral work :) It was really great enforcement for my aids over the weekend because he doesn't give you correct shoulder in or haunches in unless you ask correctly. We managed to get more shoulder-in than haunches-in, but that's because I'm better at asking for that. Perhaps in a longer arena than the one I have, we'd get longer sets of it, but since my arena is only a 20m x 40 m arena, we're missing 20 m worth of length to do the higher level stuff.
I noticed that because he's more stiff on his right, when I asked for the lead change in the arena, he got a little quick and strung out after the lead change. I think he will likely need more conditioning before his transitions become smooth again, plus we really need some instructor eyes on the ground, eyes that know what they're looking at, to really polish this work. It sucks that one of the trainers I like who comes down from Huntsville has been coming down during the week, which used to not be a problem, but now that I work a real jobby job in a lab, I can't take off in the middle of the day during the week. I can only squeeze in on weekends, sadly.
This horse is TONS of fun! I was so very pleased with his performance this weekend :) We're going to take today off since it rained last night, then we're back to work tomorrow afternoon after I get off work.