We had a nice hack down the road today in the cool and windy fall weather. The farrier had been out to fix up Louie's feet (Louie pulled a shoe on Monday, so we decided to just put him into plain plates before the hunter's pace on Sunday, to give some protection, yet help the transition to barefoot), so he was in good shape for riding again.
We set out down the road, riding along side the pavement, then on the gravel road, at a walk, trot, and canter. Louie did great, while he wanted to ride saddle seat (that Saddlebred comes out when he gets excited), he relaxed down enough to get some nice hunter trots and free walks too.
What I noticed from time to time, was that Louie wanted to swing his hind quarters around just a little bit to the side and "dog track." Now of course this is not an efficient way to utilize his energy, as riding straight, with the hind quarters tracking immediately behind the forehand allows all of his energy to be directed forward, rather than having part of the energy directed to the side. I was able to get him to straighten out most of the time, but soon enough we found ourselves back in the same crooked position, hollowing one side of his body again. I think he is too used to riding circles and has forgotten how to track straight. The other factor is that it was quite cool and windy outside which always makes horses antsy and brings out all of that extra energy that they don't know what to do with.
Well, I think that the hunter's pace we are doing this weekend should help him remember to track straight. Trail riding cures a lot of things, and I'm hopeful that some more regular trail riding should help Louie to realize how much easier life is to trot with the hind feet behind the front feet.