I was able to get out to the barn on Tuesday and ride a bit. Boy was Bentley ever hyper! He even threw a medium sized buck my way when I first asked for canter. After a loud growl the canter was nicer, but another microscopic half buck was thrown in at another point, a second growl and no more problems.
We had the ring to ourselves so I decided to try some little jumping exercises to settle Mr. Energetic down (every time I asked for a circle, he took it as cue to canter). I had Lee set up trot poles to a tiny crossrail. As expected, the moment I picked up the trot again, he lunged forward trying to canter, it got even more difficult once he saw the obstacle.
We had some weird steps over the jump, but we got over. Tried it a few more times and he just wasn’t learning to relax, only how to make the canter work over the trot poles. So I brought him back to the walk, and only allowed him to trot just before the trot poles. He did it beautifully! Back to walk. Trot a little earlier and earlier each time until we were able to stay consistently trotting the whole time. Our half halts were much more effective after the walking exercise and we added a second small jump around a large corner as a misshapen figure 8. We then worked on trotting through the first jump with trot poles, cantering to the second jump, and coming back down to trot to repeat.
He was very good with the trot, and after a few bad distances in the canter, the two of us worked it out. The walking exercise really helped to get him to focus and to listen to my half halts.
I also rode last night, however there was a class in there so we didn’t get to do much. Also, as I was tacking up (but not during anything in particular) I managed to hurt my back. All of a sudden I was in extreme pain for no apparent reason. Maybe a pinched nerve? It wasn’t anything related to where I hurt before and I didn’t feel like I pulled anything, so perhaps its just one of those pesky things that pops up every so often. Of course, I was already saddled and ready to go, so I rode anyway. We just did an hour of light work, it hurt too much to trot a lot. I guess it worked out ok anyway because I could just walk around the centre of the ring while the lessons went on.
There was nothing in particular that stood out last night, he was a little inflexible on the one side again, but I was having trouble with my own body so I am sure I was a major contributor. Overall it was a nice ride and he was well behaved. I practised keeping my hands down and steady while posting to keep him in contact, and he rounded beautifully. Also worked on keeping him forward while he is in contact, as he tends to back off and lose impulsion when I bring him together. He was a little confused, but we are improving still!