I followed the link and saw a name I recognize. Vitor Silva is pretty local, has a gorgeous Lusitano farm, and does a lot of demos. Trainer A has ridden with him a couple of times and likes him. He's a softer touch, more interested in a cooperative, supple horse. He's not a competition focused trainer. He works with baroque horses, so smaller strides than the warmbloods and short backed. He specializes in lateral work and in hand work. Well, gee, that sounds like someone I would enjoy as a clinician. I went to check for audit price and saw that there were a few last minute spots available.
A quick couple of messages and we have a one hour private on Sunday afternoon. Yay? Impulse control issues. I haz them.
The view after our early morning lesson and road hack, 68* today!
But I'm excited! This will be a very different view and it's a great time for it. Theo has broken through the wall of 'neck braced or death!', but the connection isn't consistent yet and we have a lot of suppleness work to do. Yes, he can flex in both directions now which is a huge achievement, but today's lesson with Trainer A really highlighted how much more we have to do.
My left lead canter is a bit broken. I know, it has been for awhile, but while it's getting better it's also becoming more noticeable as we up the difficulty again. He now does not canter and turn left unless I let him shove his nose out and use the underside of his neck. Keeping him on a contact and balanced on both sides is forcing him to use his topline and build up all new muscles. Papi is not a fan of building up new muscles. I refuse to go back to a heavy connection, so the battle is on. He would really rather not give to the left and thinks that my left leg is purely decorative.
We did side passe, 10m circles, and leg yield today to unlock the rib cage and shoulder where he doesn't want to stretch through. It's quite a juggling act to keep all of his evasions in check. Throw a shoulder, go haunches first, invert, suck back. He's a smart, creative horse. But it's getting better. We had a couple of leg yields that were actually upright, not him laying on his shoulder and crossing as quickly as possible to get it over with. And I'm getting a much bigger, stretcher trot these days!
Theo will always be an evasive horse because he's damn smart and if I don't know the difference, he'll do it the easy way. But we've completely turned the corner in terms of his submission to the aids. I put my leg on, he reacts. I close my fingers, he reacts. It's not consistent or always honest, but it's there. Now we can move on to submission to the bend.
Tomorrow I clean tack and pack the trailer. Oh, and try to make my November horse look somewhat fit to be seen in public. Sunday I haul out and let a completely different voice check my work and (hopefully) give me some guidance on how best to keep progressing with making him more light and supple.
Maybe I'm not ready to give up on my plan to move up to Second after all. And maybe Theo isn't so adverse to the idea. Maybe we need to just keep doing things at our own pace and in our own way. Because right now? He's a fun, neat horse to ride.