Well I got a better offer on trailering in to ride at Mel-o-dee stables, where I boarded Social during the summer of 2007. It is a nice farm just about the same distance as C&D. But, I know a lot of the boarders since I boarded there not too long ago, and their arena footing is really NICE- soft and fluffy.
So Louie and I loaded up and drove over to ride (he was a good boy again with the trailering, I'm so proud of him!). When we got there he was rather anxious- he was acting a bit like Social used to, something I've never seen from him. He is usually so calm and cool about things, but he settled down once we got working. They have mirrors in the arena there and Louie had a lot of fun trying to figure out who that handsome horse in the mirror was! Very cute. Anyhow, I lunged him a bit to wear off some of that excess energy and loosen him up and I have not seen him move so nice and floaty before. He had the most goregous trot (not a high animation trot, but long strided, lofty, and great impulsion from the hind end)- I was super impressed. So I hopped on and went for a ride. He did very nicely with all the tests that were put out for him. The barn crew threw hay down from the loft into the arena while we were in there, walked through with hay and shavings carts, and he didn't care at all. :) He was thinking "hmmm, food? for me??"
All in all, Louie did very well today, but I did notice some things that are going to need work. A few issues I see coming up for us are:
#1. Walking too lazily (yes, I never thought this would be a problem, lol). I had to encourage him to walk faster several times today- now I don't mind doing that, but his walk will need to be with a little more purpose once he gets to the show ring, and transitions up from the walk will need to happen a little bit easier in the future.
#2. Leaning on the bridle at the trot. I noticed this today and last Tuesday, I think it is because he and I are not finding a consistent headset and Louie enjoys chewing on his bit. We are having a struggle between up, down and flex, and it is mostly at the trot. I'm not sure if it is a balance problem or he doesn't know where he wants to carry his head, or maybe I'm asking too much of him (perhaps I want his head higher than he does). I put together a new set up to try for him, with a Dr. Bristol copper mouth half-cheek snaffle and a german martingale, so maybe I'll give that a try. The vet will be out in a few weeks to check his teeth, so we'll clear that issue. In the meantime, hopefully Sandy will be able to help us figure that one out.
#3. Bucking in the canter. Yes we are still bucking/kicking in the canter. He wants to do it just about every time I ask him for it. Today the only time I think he actually did was once we were already in the canter, just going along fine, whereas it is usually in the cueing process that he does it. I really don't know what the problem is. He also hasn't taken his right lead in the past few rides, but that's okay for now. I'm wondering if he is sore or I'm not sitting it well enough, or if he is just protesting or what the problem is. We cantered a few times today and he bucked once, on the first or second canter out of about 3 or 4. I really don't know what is going on or if this is typical? He can be a bit of a bugger at times- shakes his head and tries to goof off under tack (usually at the very beginning of the ride). I'm hoping that this will just go away once I'm able to work him more regularly and he doesn't have so much extra energey and terrible two's type attitude.
Anyhow, I'm hoping that we'll be able to find answers to these challenges (they shouldn't be too tough to solve). Tomorrow Sandy is supposed to meet me at Mel-o-dee, so hopefully she will have some words of wisdom for me. :)