Since I had scheduled a lesson and then got hurt, again, I had simply changed my lesson to a training ride. The trainer, will call her H, then had to reschedule and we finally were able to connect on Monday. Since the App is doing fine and the TWH is pretty overweight, I had her ride the TWH. I was very careful around the horses and didn't make any whisper about her coming and riding, it seemed like every time I spoke about a lesson in front of the TWH he was coming up lame this past spring lol. As a result of my secrecy he was nice and sound for the ride.
Her initial comments about him is that he feels SO different. She also thinks he gives a good effort to do what you are asking and doesn't fight you, something I have said all along. She was having a hard time feeling his gaits, like when he first gives his trot ,but towards the end of the ride she was feeling it much better. Since this is the second time she has ever rode him and the first time was for about 10 mins several months ago, she started him at a walk and meandered around. She tested his lateral movements and worked on some halts. She then bumped into a trot and she would simply giggle sometimes and shake her head over how different he feels. After a couple of sticky up transitions he figured out what she wanted and gave pretty nice trot transitions for the rest of the ride.
H even got brave and asked for some leg yields at the trot, something the TWH can do but is difficult for him when trotting. She played with changes of direction and tempo, working to get him a little more collected and light. I was pretty impressed and a bit mad at myself for not bringing my camera out, he looked pretty good most of the ride. He stayed fairly round and collected and moved nicely for her.
H then tried out his canter, right lead first which is his better lead. TWH first tried a pacey canter and I had H bring him back to a halt and ask again, I don't allow that and I told H that she shouldn't either. The second canter departure was lovely and H was very pleased with the transition. The TWH stayed fairly uphill and collected and moved nicely within the canter. They then switched and worked on the left lead. She said it certainly is his weaker lead, he isn't uphill and isn't as balanced. A lot of it has to do with the fact he hasn't cantered much at all under saddle since March, it will come.
For the last part of the ride H got to experience and work on the difficult canter-trot transition. I tried coaching her through a few transitions but let her try her tricks. Shoulder in through the transition, haunches in through the transition, leg yield into the transition, transition to walk then trot, finally she agreed what I have been doing seems to be best. Ask for a downward transition, wait a moment for him to balance in the pace then ask for the trot. He will pace, do some shuffling gait that I don't know what it is (rack maybe?) and then will trot. As he gets stronger with more consistent riding the amount of time needed in the pace will decrease until the transition will get almost seamless again.
All in all it was a good ride. It was her first real ride on him and I didn't give her much of an agenda as I wanted her to feel him out and just get him back to work. I am going to have her come out about once a week to ride him and, if nothing else, get some of that weight off of him. He is currently about 150-200 pounds overweight and despite dropping his feed down to slightly more than the donkey, he isn't dropping weight. Next ride is next Thursday, will let you know how it goes!