The weather has been very fall the past two weeks. Lower on the humidity scale, lower on the temperature scale, and beautiful. Yet, I've ridden very little.
I did take my very first lesson in more than a decade on Sunday. It was great. I was sore, but I learned a lot. I even took my learnings and came straight to the barn and applied them with both horses with great success - getting Q to leg yield to both sides and perform her first successful turn on the fore - something we struggled with previously. Griffin even leg yielded well in both directions, though he was sticky to the left. He became frustrated about this, but we worked through it and found small success which was rewarded heavily.
Griffin did finally exhibit his Shit Fit ground driving the other day which, while a bother, was incredibly exciting because it really hammered home that his antics are truly greenie things and much less likely to be an underlying issue of some kind. He even did the EXACT same moves he tries under saddle complete with his "I'm falling!" fake-out which was quickly met with a "Oh shit, she doesn't care that I'm fake-falling I better stand up!" stumble. *cackle* That's right horse, I'm on the ground and really do not care if you fall over. *shrugs*
I've ridden him twice (non-trail) since that ground driving moment, and while we've had sticky spots, we're working through them. Additionally, we've been using the Myler 3-ring combination with a low port which Griffin seems to like, but more tests are needed. It seems, ultimately, that two things trigger Griffin being a snit: 1. being asked to perform something that isn't on His Agenda, and 2. asking Griffin to perform something tricky that is hard for him - he gets so upset when he can't do something well! And on our last ride, he was upset about not doing well, tripped the most minor amount due to his lack of attention on his feet, and then proceeded to get MORE upset because he tripped. I seriously had to laugh at him - and then quickly provide him a chance to do something he's awesome at so his mind would move forward from the bad moment. He's really a good boy beneath his greenie Shit Fit moments; he wants SO badly to please and gets very over eager with his attempts to please, so when I shut down his over eagerness with a "not now, let's wait" he gets a bit frustrated.
And OMG HE IS SO UPHILL. A fact even more accentuated by riding him immediately after working with Q. Especially in his canter. Q has a LOVELY canter, but Griffin's is just so much more. I'm really eager to see where that goes over time. I'm really beginning to more heavily consider Griffin's future with more dressage and eventual jumping. While he's fun on the trail, he really excels in the flat work we've done. Granted, his first love is all things ground-based due to nearly two straight years of ground-based pursuits. It's fun figuring out and testing out different jobs for him. =)
I'd hoped to go on a big ride with Mike one of these weekends at Dolly Sods, but he's out in California fighting fire near Placerville, so I'm having to revise my riding plans. I'd really like to get two bigger rides in on Q before Fort Valley at the end of October. And I'd really like to do these rides up at the Sods where the footing can be rocky in places just like OD rides. I think the plan for the first big ride is going to be to take Q and have friends who hike tag along as I am very hesitant to go alone to a wilderness area (RoadID ordered btw and should arrive next week). The Sods are in the middle of BFE where cell service is a joke, so what we'll do is plan out exact trails we plan to hike/ride and then strict meeting points for certain times. That way I can ride ahead, double back, whathaveyou, and my friends will know where I am if I haven't met them at the designated time. It'll take a little bit of extra planning effort, but I think it'll work out well. Everyone can enjoy the beautiful fall colors at the Sods and I can get some miles in on the Q horse in a place I've dreamed of riding for years. (Very, very few trails in our Nat'l Forest/wilderness areas are barred from horses. We basically have free reign of everything. It's awesome.)
Hoping to have more exciting things to report in the coming week.