Very slowly, I am increasing the amount of schooling Kingsley does per hack and each time it feels like riding a horse with a brain of a Grand Prix horse and a body that holds him back.
Today we did three circles to the left and four to the right (the more problematic ones). So you see, when I say increase of workload I really do mean baby steps.
He worked well on the lunge on the left and we are working through the issues on the right. He is crooked in that he leans heavily on his right shoulder. I got some super results in walk and can now pretty much say I want his weight here and there and he will do it but we only just starting the same game in trot. It's difficult.
I wish I could do better in working him in-hand in trot as I can see how much it helped him at walk.
On the lunge I noticed some changes in the way he carries his neck. His usual reaction to anything from transition, change of undulation, change of place for a circle would result in a lift of the neck with that disengaged look to the whole neck/wither area. In the last few days there appear to be less hollowing of the neck in front of the wither and more lift in the shoulder in the trot transitions. As a result his neck seems longer and more connected to the rest of the spine. I have similar impression in the saddle so I hope I am not imagining it.
Kingsley is a trier. He is amazingly perceptive and very sensitive - characteristics that drew me to him at the very start.
Today was our third short trot under the saddle and it felt much better than the first one with the one difference that our downwards transition was nowhere near as good because he decided trotting is much more fun than walking. Part of the problem is his inability to push more up with his hindlegs and the push forwards he is generating is only cartwheeling him forwards onto the front legs.
All these balance issues considered I am amazed at how light my signals can be for him to get the message. Everything needs just be a whisper.
Although he couldn't give a damn and is probably feeling like he won a lottery with all the attention he is getting since Pauline and I got him, it saddens me to think what an incredible horse he could have been if not for the physical issues. Mentally he is pretty much all I would ever wish in my top horse.
If it doesn't pelt down with rein tomorrow I will try to video our baby schooling but don't hold your breath, it's not very exciting to watch!