Dawn had her usual Thursday off. Since it was raining hard this afternoon, and Halloween to boot, there was almost no one at the barn this afternoon - which meant my boys and I had the indoor to ourselves.
Red and I had a good work session, with lots of trot and canter. I got a nice "big walk" (without a secondary cue for forward, just using my energy) before asking for trot, and had a very nice first trot transition. But then he was pretty sluggish at the trot initially, and was resenting my use of a tap with the dressage whip as a secondary cue - he did move forward, but I was having to nag him, and he was not happy about the whole thing - this means the secondary cue isn't working as it should but is becoming a brace of its own. Red's got a strong sense of fairness, and it's clear he didn't think what I was doing was fair - he didn't do anything bad but he was clearly annoyed. I got ride of the whip once he was moving forward nicely and he maintained it well. So I'm rethinking what to do - I'm not going to nag him with my leg to get forward - he'd resent this just as much and he's a master of the brace-against-brace thing, and it wouldn't be soft. I'm not sure what I'll do - some experimenting to come. Next ride we'll try no whip, and I may let him warm up a bit more slowly at first rather than asking for so much forward right away. If I need a secondary cue, I may try something a bit different, like slapping my hand on my leg - we'll see.
Pie and I did a lot of cantering work - work on his departures - his walk/canter departure tracking left is almost there; the right lead still needs work - and work on continuous cantering with softness. He did very well and his forward at the trot was pretty good, even though I (deliberately) wasn't carrying my dressage whip to give him secondary cues for forward - he's not resentful of this as Red is, but I wanted to see how we'd do without it.
It's supposed to be colder and windy, but sunny, tomorrow, so horses should feel good - particularly with all that fresh mud to roll in!