I noticed last night that Afton’s personality seems to be developing. It’s sort of a slow process, but he didn’t seem inclined to be very interested in us at first. He was sort of the polar opposite of Rosey, who basked in attention and adored being loved on. But it seems every time I bring him in, he gets a little more interested in what’s going on, and he’s coming to realize that attention is fun. He seems to be enjoying grooming more, and instead of looking bored and sleepy on crossties, he now watches what we’re doing with perky interest.
In any case, with my last ride in mind, I started out last night with few expectations- the weather issue has continued, so the ground is still frozen, with snow and ice, so I doubt that he’d done much moving around. Unfortunately the indoor ring footing was slightly packed and frozen in spots, so there was also a limit to how much we could really do.
Instead of trying so hard with my legs to start achieving a bend, I experimented last night with my body weight, going to what felt like very incorrect lengths to weight my inside hip more, stretch up through my side, and not worry so much about what my legs and hands were doing. Much to my surprise this tactic is marginally more effective than trying to push.
So once again, a horse has taught me that less might be more (the cardinal rules seem to be: 1) forward is always the answer, and 2) “DO” less- yet for some reason I need reminding of both of these ALL the time. )
We worked a fair bit at the canter (within reason, as I mentioned the ground was not so great), just thinking about establishing a rhythm, and me trying to use my weight more effectively instead of contorting. I also attempted his first walk-canter transitions, and he did very well in both directions (I only attempted it once each way- didn’t want to get him to anticipate too much). He did throw in a few trot steps but seemed to know what I wanted.
I know we need to get more pictures. It’s a little easier in better weather with more daylight- there are more folks around to help. That, and photos in the indoor are difficult with all the dust in there. Hopefully we’ll have some soon, Afton is getting quite handsome, and Stephen is filling out very nicely too.