Spent a long time before tacking up today just grooming and doing various stretches with Kieran. Leg stretches, back stretches, carrot stretches, all sorts of stretches. ;) No ears back while I girthed him up (he still looked sidelong at me, but was noticeably not as irritated as last week so I'm willing to chalk it up to a momentary thing but I'm still going to have him and his saddle checked out, just in case).
He has gotten suddenly bad about standing at the block. I'd had him for a while where he'd stand pretty well at home (but away from home was a different story) but today he was just not having it. Did a lot of walking in circles around me on the block till I finally got him to stand long enough for me to get on. And then he tried to walk off (so we have to back up and argue about standing by the block until I say it's okay for him to walk off). Ugh.
Once we got going, however, he was good. We did a long warmup of walking random patterns in the ring and some slow trotting. There was also someone else riding at the same time we were so that also helped keep things interesting. :)
For a bit there, we were really booking along at the trot and I let myself drop into a habit of clucking every time I posted which I forget I also do to make him trot faster on the lunge. It wasn't really running into it in a disorganized sense, but we did get going so much he just went up to a canter (nice transition, actually!) and I was like, "oops...lets go back to a trot". No big deal.
Also did a lot of transitions in general. I'd ask him to trot, then halt, then trot, then walk, then halt, then back up, then walk, then trot...just...whatever came to my mind about, "we'll do this next!".
And Christina had told me that when someone was riding him recently and another person was on a horse in the middle of the ring that he'd thrown a little crowhop when asked to canter while the other horse waited. I decided (since I had someone riding with me) recreate that situation and see what happened. And indeed, I asked him to canter just past the other horse and he threw a little crowhop (the first time he's done that to me. There were a couple times months ago when he would throw his head down going into a canter like he was thinking about it, but I think that was more a fitness issue then. This was just a toddler tantrum thing), we kept moving, I asked again, he gave me a nice canter. We went around a few times, I brought him back down, went the other direction, asked for a canter, got it. No big deal. :)
Then both me and the other person went back to riding and we did some more trotting. Lots and lots of just trotting without stopping to do anything else (we don't actually "just" trot for a long space and I think we should, I just hate to be too "boring" since it's winter and we have to ride inside so much) and then I let him canter a couple of times just down a long side before trotting again (so we didn't run up onto the other horse).
After that, we walked out of the ring and up the driveway (carefully, because it was a bit slicker than I realized) just to get some air and then...we were done. :)
4 days ago