WOW...what a weekend Renegade and I had!! Spent the weekend with some girlfriends and our horses and had a wonderful time.
I played online with Renegade and after some rousing play doing circles, change of direction, and falling leaf, he was ready for me to slow it down so we played with moving one foot at a time. Big breakthrough there..Renegade was on a pedestal and I asked one front foot off, rest, asked other front foot off, rest, asked one back foot off but got two...sent him back on the pedestal, repeat...good until back feet...both came off at same time, sent back to pedestal, repeat...finally...one foot, then two, then three, stop and rest...lots of licking and chewing. Asked for last foot off the pedestal, rest, lots more licking and chewing!! Hoorah!!
Split Renegade in half lengthwise over a pole, right front, then right hind over the pole...only had to repeat once and he got it. Rest and lots of licking and chewing. More Hoorah!!
On the ground, sideways to the gate, then open the gate one sideways step at a time...real slow...got the gate open then I got a bit mixed up but sorted myself out and we closed the gate again real slow one sideways step at a time. Later in the day riding freestyle we opened the gate. We had a bit of a rough start with Renegade wanting to rush but again I slowed everything down to one step at a time and stuck with it long enough for a change. By the time we finished, we had a beautiful, slow, controlled sidepass while opening and closing the gate and all with very little rein support. BIG HOORAH!! Of course, we need more practice but this was soo nice, soft, unhurried, beautiful really!!
Rode the barrel pattern at the walk several times then Renegade offered to trot so we trotted the pattern. The first time through at the trot was a bit rough and disjointed with a couple of starts and stops but the second time through was really good so we stopped...more licking and chewing!! I think I finally have the pattern now and it made everything easier for Renegade. He was turning off my seat and body position and was needing very little rein support.
As a group, we rode all 4 horses in the ring and did all kinds of little patterns, challenges, etc. Sooooo much fun...even used horses as cones to do a few things. By the time we were done I had Renegade stopping off my seat and backing up with me just wiggling my feet...look ma...no reins!! What a blast!!
I went outside my comfort zone and rode in my english saddle all weekend. I finally got the gullet width/saddle pad combination worked out and I can get on my balance point now. I started out feeling a bit out of my element (I usually ride a western saddle) but by the time the weekend was over, I was feeling confident riding in it. I did discover however, there's a reason for the different clothing for english riding. Jeans are not the most comfortable thing to ride an english saddle in!! Next time I'll remember my breeches and half chaps!!
It seems as if we've struggled along for quite a while and the last couple of weeks we've made progress by leaps and bounds. I'm not quite sure what's changed or gelled but I do know I'm lovin' the progress were making!!
NOTE on changing to english saddle: I decided to change from my western saddle to my english because as the weather got hotter, I shaved Renegade to help with cooling him out after play sessions and when I shaved him, I saw some white hairs on his right shoulder/wither area. They didn't show until I shaved him but seeing them I'm wondering if my western saddle caused them. Also, I wondered if this would affect his muscle development as we do more riding so decided to change for the moment and see what happens.