My gelding must be sick or something.
Johnny has been so amazing the past few days that I don't even know what to say. It seems like all of the sudden, things are finally starting to make sense to him. All of the endless repetition of catering to his "special" Standardbred needs is finally paying off! He LOVES his right lead canter now...it only took 6 months to get him to do it, but now it's all he wants to do! Granted, we occasionally still have a few Standie moments where he flings his head up and tries to do his running trot, but generally speaking, he would much rather canter now! Today, I set up a one stride on the long side with poles and then three raised 9ft bounce rails at the short end of the ring (by the "spooky" door!) We started off just warming up trotting and bending, trotting over the one stride poles (which, by the way, he isn't throwing in super short steps right before anymore! woo!) and then some left and right lead canter on the flat. Once he was sufficiently warmed up and listening, I started him in canter over the one stride poles. We did those a few times and he got really perfect striding to them each time! After that, I got him settled with a little walk break (cantering + poles/jumps makes him super excited) and then started working over the bounce rails. We began off the left and I let him trot in with me in a two-point and a light contact. I tried to use just my legs to steer him and let him figure out the rest with his head. I won't lie, I was totally expecting him to just trot through them the first time (yes, you can trot through a raised bounce exercise...9ft between each bounce = two trot steps between each rail) but instead he trotted in over the first one and then CANTERED out and bounced the last two, kept his canter on the back side and cantered in a low frame down the long side. Needless to say I gave him huge pats and rubs on the neck! We did the exercise a few more times and he repeated the same thing :)
After a little walk break again I decided to try going to the right, fully anticipating that we were just going to trot the exercise. Johnny is a little less laterally correct to the right (go figure lol) so it took a little more correcting to keep him straight over the exercise but he also trotted in CANTERED the last two bounces and then CANTERED ON THE RIGHT LEAD down the long side! THREE TIMES!! I just about died!
Another walk break and then we finished off with left lead canter into the bounce exercise. The first time through we both kind of botched it up. Johnny wasn't exactly paying attention and I wasn't exactly super clear with where I wanted him to go (sometimes I forget that he's not Emmy and can't read my mind like she does...) The second time through was better and the third was perfect :) I was sooo proud of him today!
This weekend I am going to see my boyfriend up in New York so E will be hacking him Saturday and Sunday will probably be his day off. Next weekend we are hauling down the road to LEC for our Jumper Schooling show! It's going to be Johnny's first time in the jumpers so this next week we are going to get down to business!