Ok, well, just before since the blog is about the after. Although I STILL want to get some current pictures and video with our new dressage saddle but I haven't managed to do so. I must say again and again and again how much I LOVE my saddle!
Anyway, about the before.
My friend sent me a photo of Mac in his earlier years, when he had another job.
The person I got him from has a couple of pictures of Mac (formerly known as Buck) on his Facebook page, so I downloaded them. I wrote and asked his permission to use the photos in my blog, and sent him the link to get here. I haven't heard back from him yet but I'm hoping he doesn't mind. If he does mind, I will be happy to take them down. I'll at least say that photo credit goes to Mark Montgomery.
Herewith are a couple more pictures of Mac's early days!
In the above picture he's just left of center, mugging for the camera.
In the above picture he's actually got his head down, drinking, and you can't see him (he's in front of the palomino) - I just wanted to show what beautiful country he's visited!
Since I'm already writing, I'll give a bit of an update from our last ride - we had the BEST canter departs yet! For some reason, there was something that hadn't dawned on me with regards to cue-ing him to pick up the canter. Maybe because it is so instinctual with Paddy, and I've never actually *taught* the canter departs myself. That coupled with the fact that I feel discombobulated in that particular transition made for some really ugly attempts.
I suppose that it helped that it was windy and gloomy on Wednesday when I rode him last. He's really alert and aware and responsive and I *ride* more when the weather is like that. At first, I thought I wouldn't give it a try since he was a little bit on edge. But I figured what the hell, he doesn't do *bad* stuff even if he is a bit fresh, so I didn't shy away from it. Actually, *he* decided that he was ready to pick up the canter. We were just trotting along on the left rein (typically the side I have more trouble with) and I sat up and kept my contact and used my inside leg to move him over and set him up and that was pretty much it - it was so smooth and easy. And the canter that we got was good, too - I could maintain contact with my outside rein and reach forward and give a "good boy" scratch on his neck and he maintained the canter. I promptly gave him a break and did it again, with the same result. I was so pleased! Repeated the exercise on the right rein and called it a day.
Whenever I have a great result like that, I can't wait to ride again!!!