Drift and I had an interesting ride today. He was very calm leading in and calm on the cross ties. His walk was pretty good from the beginning - fairly cadenced and relaxed with some stretching down to the contact. But when I asked him to trot - I got that "I'm really full of myself" trot - not that forward and, how shall I say, "ready for action". The day was pretty chilly - barely 50F with some fog and drizzle and he was feeling a bit feisty. Then, whenever I asked for trot from the walk - and all I was doing was thinking the new rhythm and breathing out with the slightest whisper of leg - he would try to spring into the canter. I'm not sure what he was thinking - maybe it was the chill and feeling frisky, maybe it was that trotting is hard work and cantering is easier, maybe it's that he's a little sore behind from all the work we've been doing and cantering is more comfortable. There were a couple of springy, "fishtail" moments - not bucks exactly but fairly leapy and springy. We had one "bring nose to boot, push him around in a tight circle with inside leg" when he did something more like a buck, and then kept right on working.
Since he wanted to canter so much, I decided to use what he was offering. My objective was for him to trot when I said trot, and keep trotting, and canter only when I said canter. So we did some canter at my initiative - I haven't cantered him before and he's really not ready to do it yet (although close) since our trot work isn't stable and reliable yet. He's got a really nice canter but not much in the way of brakes - the bracing showed up again as is typical as the energy level increases, although a verbal whoa works fairly well and when he got too excited I turned him towards the fence. Finally, after some more "springing", he was able to work through it and give me what I want - consistent trot when I wanted trot, and canter when I asked. Since his canter isn't very controlled yet, we didn't canter far - a big half circle or so before I asked him to slow. We did a number of trot and then canter sets until I was satisfied with the trot and the canter was when I asked.
I took Dawn out and lunged her briefly - both my daughter (who rode her for a bit yesterday - Dawn was very mellow) and I felt that she was the slightest bit off/stiff. It's pretty subtle, but there was a little something, so I didn't ride her today.
And then Drift and Dawn went for a ride in the trailer. I loaded Drift first in slot number 2 (I like to use slot 1 for hay - there's a stud barrier between slot 1 and slot 2). Then I loaded Dawn in slot number 4 - the back slot. They were both nervous but loaded well. I closed everyone up and we went for a quick drive - about 5 minutes - around my development. When we unloaded, both Dawn and Drift exited a bit too fast for my taste - and at first Drift tried to turn around - I stopped that - there really isn't room for him to do it safely. So Drift got to load again and back out when I asked - he wasn't thrilled by the idea but did it, again too fast but at least at my request.
We may do another load-and-ride tomorrow.