It was crisp yet beautiful out, and perfect for a trail ride. I loaded up Angie with me and got Milo ready. We headed out.
I have said time and again how useful the trail can be for training, and it's psychological effects on both Milo and I. I have been trying to get out as often as I can because it really just keeps things fresh. There is nothing in particular I am "working on" with Milo when I've been riding. Simply just maintaining what we have until I decide what road(s) I want to go down to further training. That's not so say I dont believe we have anything to work on - we do - its just I havent decided who or where I am going to go to work on those things. So in the meantime, I'm doing what I can and having a quiet winter.
Anyway, we headed out and I figured I would just use the ride for exercising purposes and to of course, have a little air and quiet.
We started out with a nice trot down the "entrance trail" (where the goat followed us, if you remember) and warm him up before getting to my favorite spot for a long lope. When we did get into the lope there, I focused on keeping my body quiet and in position, and worked on my "hum" cue to slow down Milo's lope. He really does well on the trail just the two of us; I can lope him on a loose rein and have no worry of him speeding up or running through the bit - like he does when we are out with another horse. So I took this time to emphasize going at my pace whatever gait I like. He was listening well and we loped along a while simply enjoying the peace of loping quietly outside together.
Things felt so well I decided to throw in a few lead changes. Oh. My. Goodness!!! I am not even joking these were the best lead changes we have ever had to date. It's hard to say why, but simply they were just do effortless and so simple and it was easy to feel how correct they were coming from the hind end first. I was blown away. It was so cool - Milo was round and loping quietly and I just shifted my weight and legs and without skipping a beat, ears still alert and happily loping along, Milo just swapped his legs easy peasy just like you see horses do out in the field playing. It was incredible.
Needless to say, the rest of the ride was awesome too, but that was the real sparkle of the day. Sure made me happy we went out and although we didnt "work on" anything, it was very, very rewarding.