It seems like we have Tucker in a great place right now. He has proven himself to be a completely unflappable trail horse, who will confidently lead or follow, cross water, climb up and down hills, jump whatever I point him at, walk on the buckle through the woods or gallop across a field. We have had three really successful dressage lessons in a row now, and I measure success by the fact that we accomplished what we set out to work on, Tucker tried really hard and didn't throw any tantrums, and I was able to go back and work on it again in my rides during the week and get similar, if not exactly the same, results.
He has also been so much fun to jump lately, which I feel is sort of a barometer for how he's feeling physically and mentally. He is stronger from the dressage so his canter is more balanced and consistent, and he is relaxed, I think from all the riding out. I am also more confident, especially about sending him forward (which I think is both from the hunter paces and the dressage - we are working on a real honest-to-goodness medium canter).
Anyway, we had a great lesson. He warmed up really well and then we worked on our nine-rail to cross-rail exercise (from this post), and focused on my position, leg at the girth, weight in the heel, flat back. Then we moved on to a gymnastic, which we gradually built up.
Here he is at 3':
And here he is at 3'6":
I just love him! I grabbed a couple of stills from the videos above and I realize their blurry as anything, but I can tell that he's jumping really well, swinging through his shoulder and pretty level with his front end.
After the lesson was over and Tucker was happily snoozing on crossties in his ice boots, I had the pleasure of riding my favorite pony, Little Man:
And playing with my favorite colt, Bazil:
All in all, Sunday was just a great day from start to finish.