Warm up on the ground was spent in my pasture play yard at Whispering Hills Farm. Eclipse was anxious to move his feet after being in the pen all night and spending most of the day in the shade of his tying tree munching on some hay. Being in an open area for our online work out was a new concept for him. He was rudely awakened by the 22ft line when he would canter off in a straight line instead of a circle. It was fun to watch him learn what to do with his feet as log obstacles would get in his way. At one point he approached a log long ways and you could see him scratch his head trying figure out how he was suppose to walk on top of the log! After few failed attempts he decided that going over them was the easier answer and stuck with that.
Once we were warmed up we went to the round pen for our second ride. I felt fairly confident that Eclipse would not be flipping over or stomping my saddle into the dirt so I decided to use my full leather Circle Y saddle instead of my synthetic Big Horn otherwise known as the sacrificial saddle. Well in case any of you were thinking to this point that Eclipse was a re-adopt, today erased any doubt in my mind when I turned him loose with the full weight saddle. It was like watching a Dolphin swim around the round pen! He went to crow hopping for several minutes in both directions. Cindy Appling was there to catch it all on camera so I have proof! After his display of ill content, I decided that it would be best if I put the boat buoys back on to make sure all was out of his system!
Eclipse still struggles with standing completely still while being mounted. He is easily distracted mostly by Pandora, the yearling mustang that he came with, when she walks by. Aside from that, today’s ride went great. I started the ride with more leadership asking him to disengage the hind quarters and turn on the forehand several times. Then I asked for a little back up and moving the front end around. Both went very well taking several steps in every direction. Once we moved up to a trot things were a lot better than the first ride. He started out following the rail and doing complete laps from the get-go. His only opinion that he had was slowing down on the side closest to Pandora. Once that improved I changed directions and worked the other side with little or no resistance. I then decided to push my luck and see if I could get a canter going. As I asked for more speed I could feel his hesitation but willingness to try. When he mustered up the courage to try a canter step he stumbled and of course blamed me for his misstep by crow hopping once before I pulled him back to a trot. I tried to ask again but I could tell his confidence had fallen with him so I desisted. It is like jumping off the diving board, if it doesn’t go well the first time sometimes you have to sleep on it and try again tomorrow, and that is exactly what I plan on doing! We trotted a few more laps, then ended with more backing and lateral flexion.