With his eye all healed up, yesterday marked Ben's return to work.
He was so relaxed for grooming and tacking. Normally he's a bit on edge when there are loud noises happening behind him, but not on Sunday! The tractor was grooming the arena and Ben didn't care at all.
Once on his back, he was also quiet as a mouse. He did want to act naughty 1 time by the far gate, but it wasn't anything huge. He has this habit, and has always had this habit, or twirling his head. He does it in the pasture, in his stall, while longeing, and also under saddle. It always starts with him tugging on the left rein. It takes a lot of concentration from me to not tug back, but to just resist, and depending on what we're doing- ask for bend or to put him on my outside rein more. And as a creature of habit, he loves to do this when approaching the far gate. I have to be on my game, and am perfectly capable of preventing it, but sometimes, when my mind goes off into la-la land trying to concentrate on my position, he gets his twirl on.
This is what happened on Sunday while we were warming up. I was busy trying to focus on feeling how open my hips and shoulders were, and just holding the rein in my fist. I started to feel the tug on that left rein indicating his desire to twirl, and in reaction i closed my first and booted him with my left leg.
Thats when he gave me young-horse sass and a half hearted jump in the air. Once he came back down I put him on a bend, did a few circles and then worked on transitions.
It wasn't anything ground breaking, but i did realize that i can prevent the whole thing from happening if i just give him something to do. He does it when I don't plan every stride.
But otherwise we had some really great walk/trot transitions both up and down, in both directions. I even cantered him!
During this whole time my friend was riding her very green mare along with us. She has asked me to ride her horse, and this seemed as good a time as any. It was so fun to ride a different horse, a much smoother horse, even though she's very green. I can say that in the short time that I've focused on strengthening my core, my seat has improved dramatically. Ben makes it feel like I've barely moved the needle, but on an easy moving horse- the change in my riding is very apparent. Ben is making me be a better rider!