Last Thursday was the first day that I had put a good ride on Eclipse since his trim from the Farrier. For today's ride we ventured to a neighboring Riding facility Rose Equestrian. This would be the third time we have hauled off facility to ride. Once there we unloaded and wondered around the barn area. To my knowledge Eclipse has never been inside a closed building, so he entered the barn with some hesitation. Once he realized that other horses were there and there was hay, he decided that it was not a bad place to be! I unloaded my tack, groomed him up and headed out to the arena. At first I just let him explore his new surroundings. This was a hunter Jumper barn and all the unusual shaped jump standards caught his eye. As I started to work him on the ground, I found it quite funny that in this one spot between the fence and some ground poles, he would canter change lead as he crossed over the ground pole then change back as he went between the fence and myself. He did this very athletically. Once he had scene everything, I mounted and began his workout. We started out following the rail. There were certain spots along the rail that we took our time because I could feel his hesitation. After a few laps the hesitation was gone and it was down to business as usual. I continued to work the figure eight pattern at a trot and eventually worked up to a canter. Today was the first day since his trim that he readily picked up the right lead with out a lot of support from me. His transitions are getting nice, usually picking up the canter in a couple of strides. So I felt ambitious and with Eclipse's nice display of flying lead changes in his warm up, I decided to try one. Using my figure eight pattern, I cantered on the left lead came around the circle picked up his right shoulder then pushed him to the right before he reached the fence and TaDaw! flying lead change in the front and two strides later he changed the back to match! I spent the rest of the session playing with simple lead changes while throwing in a flying one every now and again. The change in his balance since his trim could really be felt today.
Today also marked another first. after our ride i untacked Eclipse and left him in a paddock area while I loaded my stuff on the trailer. Every time I would pass back into his sights, he would nicker at to come get him! I have been waiting for that sound for a month.