A little trip out today for Theoden and Rye to a friend's rather nice school. Both horses needed a little time to settle before being ridden and to have a good look in the mirror.
Ordinarily I would not advocate long reining a horse off the bit, or rather on the bit if you see what I mean. The weight of the reins and the risk of catching them in the mouth especially in inexpert hands is too great. However, never say never. In Rye's case he's just too inclined to pull straight through a Dually and I'd rather not go back to engaging with his 'no' when we have come so far with the subtlety of the bit.
It's important to take up any slack in the reins so that if he decides to do some 'hoovering' he can't accidentally step on the rein - bad enough at any time but unthinkable with a bit in. When he goes forward into trot I needed to gently go with him so that he didn't get to hemmed in by the reins and we don't create the very false outline that we have been trying to avoid.
As usual, Rye relished the work and was later ridden at walk and trot. Once again we practised trotting in a set area asking him to go forward from half-way down the arena to the fence-line each time.
Theoden was wide awake when we got into the school and it took a while to settle him. I don't know when he grew so big, he was only 14.3 hh when I bought him at 9. Once he was more relaxed I rode him at walk and trot in the school. Makes me realise though that I am going to need a little time to settle him before his session with Mark on Friday and we will be working on the basics. My list includes: softness, working with Theoden's 'yes', encouraging Theoden to enjoy work and, if time, transitions. All the concepts rather than the tasks.