The weather here in Kentucky has been absolutely gorgeous this weekend. It has been a welcome respite from the weeks of 100+degree temperatures. After sticking it out and getting through our ride on Friday night, I was really looking forward to getting to ride Alex two more days making it three days in a row. Saturday, I decided to just get right on and see what I had. After walking a few steps I urged him into a trot and after a few more steps got some head shaking/rein ripping for which I growled and yelled at him (yes, I know this sounds stupid and I am sure anyone else on the farm who hears me, probably thinks I'm insane, but it works!), kicked him in the side and smacked him with the dressage whip. This of course pisses him off, but he also keeps going! So after we'd gotten through a few temper tantrums both directions at the trot, I decided to let him canter. Now first off, let me explain, there is actually no canter with Alex, at least not yet, there is only GALLOP! Cantering to the left, Alex was bouncing around, throwing me a few little bucks the first few strides, so I just tried to stay off his back and wait for him to settle, which he did a little bit. To the right there were no bucks and actually we just had a few nice gallops around the arena. Slowly we came back to the trot and then to a walk... I was very encouraged.
Sunday, I was anxious to see if Alex and I could take another step forward, so again, I got right in the saddle. After walking around the arena, I urged him into the trot and it was actually kind of nice even if he was still trotting with his head up like a giraffe :-) To the left there were NO temper tantrums, I couldn't believe it! As I crossed the arena to change directions and go right, I hoped he'd reward me with the same good behavior, but he had to throw in a little head/shake rein ripping just for good measure... no matter I did my little growling/kick/smack of the whip and we continued trotting around the arena. Still encouraged and emboldened, I decided it was time for a canter/gallop. Alex did his usual bouncing bucking routine the first few strides to the left. Saturday, after a little wildness he had settled into a nice gallop around the arena. I hoped for that today, but no dice. Alex turned on the jets and was tearing around the arena. Greeeaaat! I tried to let him keep going hoping he would settle, but not today. Heaven help me the first time I have to take him cross-country! To his credit, he was a little better to the right, so at least I know it's in there somewhere :-)
All in all, it has been a great weekend. I know it is going to be a long journey, but I'm encouraged and that's all I need right now.