Tuesday was your average ride. Granite wasn't fabulous, but he wasn't nasty. Becky was teaching a lesson in the arena and while she says I can ride wherever I want, I try to be courteous and stay out of the way. I also feel a little self-conscious when she is in the ring because she trained Granite and gets much better results from him than I do. So, I didn't push the issue of the canter but I did manage to get one solid transition (not a run-into-it canter, but a transition).
Granite has developed a new vice, now instead of simply grabbing the bit, jacking his head up to the sky, and hollowing out through the back, he curls his neck and dips behind the bit! I hate this habit even more than the second because short of popping him in this mouth, I don't know how to remedy the situation. He seems to do it most when I drive him forward through my seat and legs and try to get more action from the back. Any suggestions out there in blog land? Books I can read on the issue of bit avoidance? I really have tried to leave his head alone and not ask for collection but focus on going forward, but now when I drive for that forward motion I am met with the neck curl/bit evade!
Aside from our episodes of "how can i avoid this thing in my mouth", Granite was pretty solid during Wednesday's ride. He is doing well with his trot transitions and I (fairly easily) got a few canter transitions out of him. I also got to ride with a new boarder. I generally don't like others, but she seems pretty dag on cool (the binder twine currently holding her spurs on make me give her my nod of approval-- that is SO something I have done!). Anyway, she is a freshman at my alma-mater (also, cool points) and she hails from Kansas. She has a little Morgan and they Event. The Morgan's name is Al and he is cool as hell. He will do lead changes on the straight-away every two strides. He collects, he bends, he will jump anything like a pro. I am in love with the little fella. To my pleasure, 'Kansas' offered me a go on him on Wednesday after we both finished our own rides! I happily accepted and even traded her mounts (She is only the 4th person ever to even sit on Granite's back).
This was so much fun for a few reasons. A) I got to ride the coolest little guy ever. B) I got to see my horse go under english tack for the first time. C) I got to feel some MAJOR differences between our horses (mainly that my horse has a gigantic stride and major potential) and D) Much of my issues with Granite are probably my fault.
I felt like I was riding a pony and we were going in slow-mo because Al is so small and I am used to such a gangly dude. I also noticed that HE (well seasoned super star Al) hesitated for a canter transition, indicating that I am off balance or really not asking in the most efficient manner. I felt myself go off balance a few times as well (I can never tell on Granite because he is so wobbly-- you know riding a green-bean like him is not unlike working one of those joined snake toys that never go all in one direction at one time). I really wish I could afford some lessons even on other horses, because I need to address these issues I noticed. But at least I am aware of them and can be mindful of them during my rides.
Al was a champ for me and I even popped over a little fence for the first time in decades. Thank god he is pretty "point and click" because I sure didn't help him out any.
Big Al doing his thing with Kansas
It was also great to see that despite the constant bit evasion going on, Granite looked like a rockstar under saddle. I have only seen Becky ride him (western, draw reins, training rides) and it was a world of difference to see him under english tack with a great little rider on top. It gave me a glimpse of how AWESOME our future can be if I ever get the time to properly devote to him.
Ok, Time to go BACK to work (I neeeeed new jobs!).