For the first time, I loaded up 2 horses and took Kendall to ride on a local trail. Our neighborhood trails are ok and convenient but some new scenery was in order. I was definitely watching closely and trying to head off any/all catastrophes, but Kendall was so brave and comfortable on Rain for the 8 mile ride that I was able to start relaxing finally. Together, they just did extremely well! Kendall's got Rain's grass-snatching more under control and Rain has more and more respect for Kendall on her back.
We talked the whole time and Kendall now has dreams of endurance riding with me and becoming a "Parelli Girl". With the start she has as a 7-yr-old, anything is possible. I explained to her that if she stays as engaged as she is now, I'll buy her a pony next spring. Something that can keep up just fine and allow her to play more of a role in tacking, ground work, etc... It's possible with a large horse, but at her height and Rain's 16 hands it's a little more challenging.
Kendall kept wanting to go faster and I appreciated Rain always wanting to conserve her energy! I worry some, but honestly I think they are fine together. We did some trotting but mainly walking. Kendall wants to move out, so as I get more comfortable with the two of them together we'll start moving out more. Kendall giggles when we go faster. It's adorable.
Kendall still has some concerns about the steep downhills and I trust that the more trail riding we do, the easier it will get for her.
Z and I did very well in our partnering on the trail. I just used the rope halter and tried to practice things like shoulder in, haunches in, feel with vertical flexion at the walk and trot, backwards with my seat, diagonal walk/trot... Actually, she felt softer than ever and I think I'm asking better and better. Thinking of my hands doing a circular half-halt has really helped. If I make a small circle in the air with my hands instead of going straight up, I get better results in the backup. Also, she's backing with my seat now with this new way of asking. I felt really good about our ride, our trailer loading, the whole deal. And Z is happy to come to me and be with me afterwards - an excellent sign. We'll try again for more video today when Steve gets back from baseball.
Before we left for the trail, I played with Gemini. We worked on the 7 games with the saddle on and the rear cinch pretty tight. He did buck some. He bucked less than the previous time and I could see him feeling generally constricted without bucking some of the time. He bucks well and has the energy to do it! He got a little playful with me changing directions and I really think he was having a little fun! I was, too. His sideways looked pretty good, his backup is great, we played more with squeeze and I realized we need to do that more often. After a few minutes, he could squeeze between me and fence comfortably, but we had to build to it. How interesting. I got on and rode him around in the arena. We did large figure 8's at the walk, trot and canter. His canter departs were softer and we hit the correct lead nearly every time. Using my outside leg a little farther back helps a ton. He feels calm and easy at the canter and I love to ride him. Should he be my first L3 horse? Maybe, but I'm not switching now. Z and I will be fine and Gemini will be quick to get through it after I've learned from Z. I appreciate him, though. There's a reason I have him - maybe he's going to be my amazing demo horse someday. Who knows, but I finally trust that he's chosen me and he's in my life for a reason.
After some time in the arena, I rode him down to the south pasture to talk to Steve while he was working on a 2nd shade shelter. I was curious if Gemini would be bothered by the tractor or being that far from the herd. He was calm and just fine. I'm looking forward to continuing our development together. I'm proud of him. I'm even considering taking him to Pagosa instead of Z.
I took the saddle off him, sprayed him down and took him into the arena with treats. I wanted to see if he'd go down and I wanted to be ready to reward him. Sure enough, he rolled and stayed down to eat the treats I had for him. A nice, easy beginning to a lay down trick later.
Don't actually know how I'm going to manage the Parelli course. The job situation is not working out as planned. I'm so disappointed and continuing to try to sort it out. I've got to head to Pagosa next weekend if I'm doing the August class. Otherwise, I've got to hit it in September. Hopefully, everything will fall together.