It's been three months since I started riding Rev, and we've come a long way in that time. Today I persuaded James to come to the barn with me to help me record our progress.
When I first met Rev, he was all about the jig. He barely had a four beat walk at all. Eliminating the jig has been one of my biggest goals for him, and we've made huge strides in that direction. He still is a bit tense and high headed at the beginning of each ride, but he's definitely walking now.Every ride starts with a lot of quiet walk-halt transitions...
and several changes of direction.
When he's relaxed, we move on to the trot.
Like the walk, Rev's trot has improved a lot with work.
He's no longer bracing himself against my hands and flinging his front legs in the air.
As this sequence shows,
we're now able to maintain a quiet trot on a loose rein. Hurray!
We've even started doing a little bit of shortening and lengthening his stride. This picture shows one of our first sitting trots.
Because I've been so focused on the slower gaits, we haven't done a lot of cantering. Still, he's made progress here, too. The right lead canter is much better.
The left lead needs work...but we'll get it eventually.
After we're done working, I always cool him out on a long rein.
I had James take this picture to show how much more relaxed he is in general (compare this stance to the one shown in this post!). However, it also illustrates our biggest challenge--that very low, very weak back. Although my saddle fits him nicely through the shoulders and withers, the seat isn't level. I hate to keep piling on the pads, but I've grown weary of sliding back in the saddle. I know my equitation isn't perfect, but it's not usually this bad! I think I need to experiment a little with some kind of riser.
I hadn't intended to let James ride today, but Rev was so quiet that I decided to press my luck.
They were both a bit tentative at first...
but it wasn't long before they relaxed...
and started enjoying one another!
Two happy redheads!
I have truly enjoyed my time with Rev, and as the weather becomes more consistently rider-friendly, I expect we'll progress even faster. I can hardly wait to see what we'll be doing two months from now!