Bobby's dressage work is always better in the indoor. It's a smaller area and there are less things to be distracted by. I also put my Ecogold pad back on under my dressage saddle. The saddle fits him fine--not pinching anywhere, not leaving any marks, and he doesn't react to his back being poked at--but I think he likes the extra padding. It does look a little foolish since it's a jumping pad and the flaps are made for a forward flap saddle and they stick a good six inches out. I do believe the dressage version will be going on my christmas list this year.
The absolute best part of the whole ride was coming back into the trot after a walk break. My reins were a little long and he offered to stretch down. I let my reins out just a hair and he reached a whole new level of fanciness. His back came up, his neck stretched down, his head stayed in "frame", and his legs were motoring along underneath him with a big, swinging trot. I had serious air time between posts, but at no time did I feel like he was rushing or we were out of rhythm. So effing fancy, it wasn't even funny. Now I know why you dressage riders are okay with no jumping. If he went like that all the time, I'd be okay with it too!
His first blooper came immediately after the fancy as shit trot. I asked him to start to collect up again and he got very tense in his neck and jaw. It took a few minutes to get him sorted out again, but he did do it. We cantered both directions, and his second disobediance was taking a whole circle to come back to the trot. He didn't even react to my half halts and I resorted to a very firm, "Whoa!" which took him by surprise. Well hello, dude. Where were you for those twenty meters I was trying to get you to listen? Other than that, the ride was pretty much flawless. His canter was actually balanced for once and we didn't feel like we were about to tip over on our sides (though I had to work hard to keep us upright). He was focused, he was willing, and he was moving like a real dressage horse. Fuck yeah!
We finished with a thirty minute trail ride. Twenty five minutes walking, five minutes trotting. We trotted on the only semi-flat ground. We don't have mountains, per se, but our hills are big enough that walking up and down them is plenty of work. Plus, they're so ridiculously rocky (the not so great perks of boarding in coal country) I feel bad asking him to trot in most of the spots. We also jumped the above newly downed tree to get to the trail. It's probably 2'6 where we jumped it. Bobby only had about five strides of trot to get over it and the ground is super rocky, but he hopped right over and carried on like it was no big deal. What a good Pony Face.