I think it might have been Milo's gift to me from his poor behavior the day before, but I had a fantastic ride yesterday. The last few weeks, I must admit, I have not been working Milo to the schedule I had been previously. From snow and weather, to sudden unknown swelling, areana flooding, school starting back up again (and now as a full time student and part time worker) and time constraints, its been at least a month since we were in a regular work schedule. In the meantime it's not like I hadnt been seeing Milo or spending time with him, I was mostly going on at least weekly trail rides (which we have really been enjoying. In fact, last week's ride was the first time I really let Milo loose on the trail: he and I loved it!), and when working in the arena mostly just longing. I had ridden bareback a few times, but have lacked enough time to really work him between school and work. I'd hate to get on with only 35 minutes and end up not working him properly.
So anyways, when I have been longing him, I've been using a pole to help get him thinking about using his body properly again, and adding in my wall reins to further aid in that desired posture. After yesterday's ride, I was really happy I had been doing so.
I added the wall reins onto my tack when I went to the arena. I started with a short longing, with the wall reins, then got on. I decided to use the wall reins when riding too because I figured after a few weeks of not asking for the correct posture, Milo would probably need more shoulder control and some aid in lifting at the wither. I used my regular reins as well though as I wanted to be able to have a feel on the bit directly, not just through the indirect wall reins. It turned out to be a good combination.
We started with just getting familiar with the wall reins again, and finding out where we were at as far as circles, shoulder and body control, and lifting his back. Milo worked beautifully, and with the addition of the wall reins an exaggeration of the nuchal flip was present, aiding me to make sure the correct arc in the neck was acquired. From walk to trot, and finally lope, the work was great. Transitions werent beautiful, although ironically the trot to lope transition was much nicer than the walk to trot. Only once did I really need to correct Milo's shoulder with the wall reins at the lope, but for the most part the work was excellent, a little fast our first go, but very nice. As we worked on circles a bit more we finally got a couple of solid ones that were cadenced and with a lifted shoulder. As I sat deep and asked for the Woah, Milo parked his booty beautifully, leaving a somewhat nice pair of elevens (they were more in a triangular shape then real elevens, lol). I dismounted then and there and praised Mr Milo.
Was this an apology for his behavior the day before? Or is Milo trying to tell me he's got the arena work and wants to spend more time on the trail? :)