We have another horse show this Saturday up in Port Angeles; the last for their summer series. I haven had a whole lot of time to devote on working towards it, just regular rides when I can. But in the middle of show season, theres not a whole lot you can add in for schooling.
I did, however, get a tip from one of the reiners at the last show for our fast to slow, and that is to teach them to slow at a hum. I got a tip from NRHA's Inside Reining DVDs to practice it from a large fast, to a stop or walk, then lope a couple slow smalls. It worked, initially, but that and the fact that one of our patterns this season has consisted of stopping between the two circles each time, he has begun to think about stopping, rather then just slowing down.
I worked on the hum cue briefly in the arena, and he was beginning to figure it out. Then last week we were out on the trail and I figured it would be a perfect time to work on it. We ended up just getting into a fight (well, really Milo just didnt slow down his pace, although I'm not sure he truly knew what I was asking), but in reality I was just getting frustrated, expecting perfection when I hadnt solidly taught him the cue. So after I slowed it down to a trot to jog with a hum cue, I called it good that day.
The next time I rode was a whole three days later (AND it was my Birthday weekend too - totally not fair I didnt get to see him! Darned work...) and it was hot and after a cart shift so I was tired. I tossed ole faithful pink bareback pad on and settled aboard.
I had a great ride. Not only did I reinforce the hum cue, but more importantly my horse felt so dead broke. I mean literally, he loped along consistently, sped up when I wanted, slowed down when asked, trotted nicely, did everything I asked without hesitation or complaint. It just was a great ride. And it made me appreciate my horse even more. All this hard work is paying off and I am starting to feel like my horse and I are really working together towards my goals. His strength is there and his mind is solid.
So this show coming up. I agreed to an extra couple of hours today, night before we haul out. From getting off at 315 and having a whole afternoon to get ready, now Im getting off at 845. I stressed for a moment on how I was going to bathe, band, and ride Milo before the next show. I figured I can bathe him this morning, and band him after work. Maybe give him a lunge too. Who needs to ride? Milo knows his job. Lets just hope I can be the rider he needs that day.