Had fun with Renegade today...played online for a while and I think I found the secret to getting snappier change of direction from him. I can't wait to play with it some more to see if it will really work. I really tried to be playful about it and for the first time he was very engaged and put effort into what we were doing. Wooohooooo!!!
After warming up online, I went to freestyle riding. I'd planned on doing some cantering until I got relaxation or some consistency but I had my english saddle that has a slick seat and my riding tights that only had knee patches. Boy, oh boy, that wasn't good planning...I was way too slippery in the seat to feel secure enough to canter. I should add, I'm fairly new to english riding, usually ride western, so I already have a bit of a learning curve!!
We did a bit of freestyle warm up in a small arena then moved to the bigger arena for some FTR at a trot. I moved to the bigger arena because round pens and small arenas tend to shut Renegade down and he loses his impulsion. He needs long lines to encourage him.
In the large arena, I chucked the idea of cantering because of the slippery seat, and instead played with FTR at the trot. The focus was trying not to pick up the reins and without Renegade stopping to grass dive or sight see. The first 3-4 several rounds of the arena, he had a couple of places he wanted to stop and he tried to grass dive a few times...I HATE that abrupt stop lol!! I persisted until we made a complete circuit of the arena without stopping and without grass diving. It only took about 20" lol!! Happily, he was good at staying on the rail and I didn't have to pick up the reins very often. As a reward, Renegade got a nice, long rest in the shade while my friend and I chatted. I'm adopting a new strategy of sticking with it until I see a change...no matter how long it takes as I think I've been quitting too soon.
After the rest, we made a couple of circuits in the opposite direction; the second one was way better than the first but I think Renegade was getting tired as he was tripping a little and he didn't have the impulsion he had earlier. Thinking about it, I probably should have stopped after the rest in the shade but I wanted to see what the other direction would be like. Sometimes, I think I'll never learn...sigh.....
We practiced a few turns on the forehand and Renegade did nicely. His hind feet stayed planted while his front feet moved 90 degrees. He was also light in my hands which is a huge change for him as he likes to try to move forward during the yield and in the past has pulled on my hands. Maybe because we expended so much of his energy he was ready for some slow, quiet maneuvers!
When we finished our online and freestyle, I removed Renegades bridle and halter and hung with him for a while. I had a couple of cookies so I asked him to stand up on the tire pedestal, gave him a cookie and let him rest there...three of his favorite things!!