Friday I stayed at Whispering Hills and worked around our facility. In the Make-over competition the compulsories are a in hand portion as well as a ridden portion. The in hand portion usually consists of obstacles like ground poles, backing an "L", trailer loading, bridges, picking up feet among others things. We have been warming up on these types of things during our ground work sessions over the weeks. Today in our session we played with a stick to me at liberty over and around some of the obstacles. One thing Eclipse has learned well is the stick to me exercise. He followed at a trot over cavaletti poles, through cones, stopping when I stop, and trotting when I trot. The connection between us has come a long way in a short period of time. I checked my saddle and mounted to ride. We stayed in the arena mostly warming up in our usual way. Once Eclipse felt with me iI dropped the reins and started to ride our figure eight pattern using my leg and body cues to guide Eclipse. When leg and body were not enough I would pick up the reins to remind him of his direction. By the end of the session we were efficiently moving around the arena at a walk and trot and stopping simply when I quit riding.
Saturday was a busy day as usual but I was able to carve out some time at the end of my day for Eclipse. We touched on everything that we worked on Friday on the ground expanding and perfecting it. In the saddle we worked on more of the same then working on rein-less riding. This time we ventured up to a canter. Eclipse's canter has become balanced and feels more like a rocking horse. He goes as fast as you want him to but is just as ready to stop. He moved around the arena turning easily with just a shift of my weight and focus. Soon we were doing simple lead changes through the middle of the arena. It is amazing to me that a little over a month ago he struggled to get his right lead and now he can pick it up without reins. It is quiet the testament to the trainablitiy of the mustang.
Sunday Eclipse had the day off. Monday was a lesson in patients for Eclipse. I had some barn hopping to do so I loaded Eclipse up on the goose neck trailer and headed out. My first stop was Moonlight Stables where I had two horses that I needed to work on loading. I set Eclipse up with water and hay in the trailer and commenced with my training session. At first Eclipse was a little confused because he usually exits the trailer when we get on location. Stomping his foot with impatience Eclipse came to terms with his imprisonment. After a little while I never heard another sound from him. I finished my sessions with the other horses and Headed on to my next stop, Foxberry Farm where I would be picking up a new boarder. I figured I would have some time to kill before the new boarder could meet me, so I found the office at the Foxberry and asked Kim Abernathy if Eclipse an I could ride at their facility while I waited. I got an enthusiastic yes! It was early afternoon by now and the younger kids in their lesson program were arriving of afternoon lessons. The barn was a buzz about the mustang and How cute he was. I got Eclipse out and let him stretch his legs while pulled out the tack for our ride. Once I got him warmed up, it was requested that he go to the neighboring arena so the kids could see him up close and personal. Eclipse felt like a celebrity! The facility there was quiet nice and we had the privilege of our own arena. We had a good ride even with the distraction of Horses and people walking around the outside of our arena. Eclipse was ready to go home after a good workout and a long day.