Things still hectic here, but good. Cayenne did really well this afternoon when I rode her, as did Milo. I am preparing for the WSQHA Rookie Show in All Breed classes and after working in the wall reins on Saturday, today I wanted to go back into the lifter bit and give him a bit of a break. I noticed his back was a touch sore which I attributed to all the hip in, elevated shoulder work, and really working over his back (as well as counter canter work). So today I opted to work on a loose rein and just make sure we had good guiding from the seat and leg. We did, I was so happy.
Milo felt like he could lope for days going to the left. We linked onto our line in the circle every single time and his rhythm never changed. I could direct him with my seat and leg, (touch of the rein to his neck if needed) and hold his body together with my seat position too - he was really keeping his shoulder lifting and driving off the rear and it was so rewarding especially on a draped rein. I could direct him anywhere including the quarter line, the diagonal, and an easy and clean lead change.
Working to the right was a little harder - he was more stiff and didnt hold ground with his driving hock this direction. I have a tendency to feel less balanced this way too (probably from still sitting hard on the right seat bone). When I became aware of it I tried to maintain balance between each, and was then finding that my outside leg wanted to stay forward instead of back at the rear cinch, asking for the bend. Just another thing to be aware of, but Milo did well, considering. He was starting to get a little tired (we did a LOT of loping - I couldnt help myself!) and got a lead change on the third try (the first two were feeling rushed and unprepared for so I took him back to some hip in control, but didnt want to over do it with his back being tired of it). I got a nice change and loped only a few more strides before stopping.
All was well, I was really happy with the amount of control I had over my horse's direction, when I am actually in tune with where my own body is positioned. I was really happy with Milo, and really appreciative of how well behaved (and well trained if I do say so myself) that he is.