At the ISC, I had the opportunity to discuss how to better pony a horse with Avery. We've done ok, but I knew there were things I could do better to get my horses to do their parts when ponying. Essentially, I wasn't being a strong enough leader and that's why Z would get defensive with her ponied horse and Gemini would get playful and annoying. So, today I rode Rain and ponied Gemini and rode with my carrot stick. I set some strict ground rules and made sure everyone followed them for the entire ride. I persistently asked Gemini to stay in a specific spot, no matter our speed. The first couple miles were quite a rude awakening for him. He's used to goofing off and doing his own thing when we pony. However, the last couple miles he figured out where to be and how to be and we had the best couple ponied trail miles in history. Having my carrot stick proved to be absolutely essential to being effective and I was able to give quick directions to him and correct an unwanted behavior immediately. I also focused on Rain maintaining gait - which she did quite well.
We went about 8 miles and did lots of trotting and cantering. At the canter, Gemini would get a little excited and I'd have to remind him of his responsibility. However, he did very well and I honestly think at the end he appreciated knowing what his job was and partnered up nicely. I realized I've just let him get away with a bit much at times and if he's annoying or frustrating, it's because I'm not leading him properly.
We stopped for grass a few times as it's so abundant on the trail and they deserved the reward. They are both just awesome horses and I can't wait to focus on each of them for L3.
It was a warm summer night, the air was fairly calm, my horses were shiny and pretty and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Deuce followed behind us and behaved himself. My idea of time very well spent. More horse time today!!