Royal and I had a grand adventure on Saturday. I had enough time to get some riding in and we played with posture and frame. I can get everything (head, shoulders, spine, abs, knees, and feet) in the right position for about half a stride before it all falls apart. So I'm working in pieces, starting with the abs. It seems like if you don't have those right, it's hard to get anything else. I think I was marginally successful. Afterwards my barn owner asked if I wanted to go for a ride on the road. Which I agreed to, and we moseyed down the dirt road until we got to the highway. And decided to go across. To the suburb-like paved-street neighborhood.
I don't think Royal's ever been in the suburbs before.
But he did great! We first encountered a shiny horse-eating little windmill which he briefly thought was going to eat him but then decided it was
in a coma harmless. We walked a little more before we encounter some dangerous children. Normally I would have invited them to come and pet Royal, but he was trying really hard to hold himself together, so I decided against it. To their credit, the little munchkins kept their distance. Onwards, we found some scary siding materials and barking dogs, but he still kept his cool. He wasn't particularly relaxed, but didn't freak out either, apart from leaving a few, erm, "calling cards" on the street. I was very proud of him when we got back to the farm. I also kept chipping away at his mane, and it's starting to come together.
Sunday was... less successful. I tried to work on Liberty stuff and found that we have some significant holes there, especially in the forehand yield. He tends to walk backwards and sort of sideways instead of a nice clean yield. It's definitely something to improve on. And trying a figure-8 at liberty did not go well. At all. He does the pattern perfectly OnLine, but suddenly forgets it at liberty. It probably didn't help that I was trying to do it in the arena instead of the round pen, which was kind of wet. I ended the session feeling kind of discouraged.
Yesterday was pedicure for the boys and they did great. BJ thought about throwing a fit but I had a discussion with him beforehand and he realized that behaving meant he could go back to grazing sooner. But they were almost overdue. I can usually count on 6-9 week intervals between trims, but this time 8 weeks (normal in late winter/early spring) was way too long. Sections of wall almost as wide as my finger got taken off and the change from before to after was pretty stark all around. Crazy weather evidently means crazy feet. And the line from Royal's abscess is almost gone. I forgot to get a picture of it, but it will probably get clipped off at the next trim. Which hopefully means it will be done forever.
Less than a month until graduation. I think see the light/train at the end of the tunnel!