The Ride with John & Kathy Baar was great ! Sonny was connected and willing all day. We trotted and trotted, and a few times, it felt in rhythm and smooth, easy to post to, and I could even sit his trot for a few strides. That darned trot has been such a mystery for me. I don't know if it's Sonny, or me, or 'us',,but the trot has been IMPOSSIBLE to sit, and difficult to post to. I even took a few 'traditional' lessons to see if it was me. I could trot fine on the lesson horse--sitting or posting trot. Hmmmmmmm, don't think it's just me. It must be Sonny and/or the saddle. Sonny is pretty dippy backed, and he does tend to travel somewhat hollow and heavy on the front quarters,,plus the saddle I have is made in a manner that makes it near ,,no -definitely , impossible to stay on my balance point. I plan on trial-ing a Parelli saddle at a lesson or at Supercamp to see what difference that makes. I do try to shim my saddle, but still can't get on my balance point and stay there, it causes my pelvis to tilt downward in the front, making my back hollow (like Sonny's ! :( ), so it's a constant fight to reposition myself. Sonny does willingly pick up the trot, but he doesnt maintain it untill I ask for a downward transition yet. Usually I'm tired and ready to walk again anyway, though, but I try to re-ask for the trot immediately to help him learn to maintain gait. Thinking of a year ago when he would only walk 3 steps and stop, he has improved so very much. He will walk untill asked to stop. He still doesnt turn on seat cues very often, and I try not to get frustrated because it seems like he should have gotten that by now.....but I need to think how he does do it some of the time to keep a positive attitude with him. I did have the 'opportunity' 2 days ago to find out that I CAN sit a spook at the trot. For a split second I thought I was coming off, but I think Sonny may have shifted to re-seat me because I didnt fall off. Wouldnt you know that the spook (a child ran up to the arena from behind a stack of wood) came just at the most vulnerable time when I was going from a sitting trot to a posting position-trying to get in rhythm with him when he suddenly sped up and shot a few feet sideways. He was good to stop immediately when I began a lateral flexion cue.
That same day, we played at liberty in the arena (180 x 60?) and Sonny gave me a figure 8 at the walk, and also trotted with me in a small circle, also gave me one lap of circle game at the walk. I was very pleased with him, esp. as there was another loose horse in the arena with his human playing with him.
Sonny has regressed on trailer loading. The last 2 times prior to 2 days ago, he has come off the trailer with injuries on all 4 legs just above the hooves. All anyone can figure is that he is jigging and stepping on himself, and he really ,REALLY doesnt want to load. Well, he will still lead in, but he wont stay in if sent in-he runs out backwards if I go in to secure him after being sent in. 2 days ago, he traveled in a 2 horse straight load and didnt step on himself in transit-no new scrapes. 4 days ago PPoMT had a playday and Sonny willingly trotted behind a tarp being carried by 2 other riders/horses. I was surprised that he was calm and willing to do that. He also wasnt' upset by a goat about 10 feet from the fence, but maybe it's because he has goat neighbors at home. He wouldnt let me pick a hat up from the ground with a stick, though,,,he snorted and snarked at it when it would wiggle as I tried to get it with the stick, and he wasnt too crazy about the stick itself.
At the small playday 2 days ago, though, he did let me hold a long pole on my shoulder-one end on the ground,,and walk around in a circle with it on my shoulder. When I turned to go the other direction ,causing the pole to cross over his head and neck , he got tense and I decided to drop the pole. It's a fun thing to play with though,,I think it's called 'garoche' and the things that can be done get elaborate--a Spanish horsemanship skill. Lots of playdays and lessons this season---we have lessons this Sat with Robin Harris, 2* PP,,maybe I'll ask for help with figuring out our problem in the trot. Supercamp is less than a month away. Our small group push for L3 has gone on the back burner with all the playdays in this Spring weather. There's just not enough time for all that we want to do.