Kai was having a bad day today. He was doing what I asked but he was also not interested in having a conversation. I groomed him and tacked him up in the saddle so I could take pictures to share to a treeless saddle group to ask for advice. I sent him on the circle at a walk so he could feel the saddle and to work on transitions. Kai decided to trot so I asked him to slow to a walk again. Kai tried to trot a few more times and then he walked for two laps without breaking gait. I asked him to change directions and he walked on more circle.
I asked him lightly to make a trot transition and Kai started to crow hop. I tagged his bum and he stopped but he trotted in a very tense way. I thought we could work on flying lead change preparation so I quickly reviewed his FQ yield and then we worked on changes of direction. I brought him in until I had two eyes and then when I sent him the other way I made sure his shoulders really moved away lightly. We did this at a walk and a trot and then we did some cantering circles. He was trying to get away instead of cantering on the circle so I kept asking him until he could relax cantering both directions. Then I asked him to canter and then I quickly brought him in making sure he maintained the canter for as long as he could. We did this in both directions to make a pattern for the lead changes preparation. Kai was all hot and sweaty by then so we did some walking stick to me to cool off.
But something felt wrong to me. He was off to me in general, he wasn't his bright, cheeky and happy self today.
I couldn't figure out why he was feeling like this. I asked myself if I was feeling off. No, I was feeling pretty happy, so he wasn’t mirroring me. I guess it was one of those days for Kai.
I tied him in the corner with his cooler on and we played with the bit because I know that he really likes to play with it. I let him wear it for a few minutes until he stopped fussing with it and then I took it out an gave him a piece of apple. I took his favourite soft rubber curry comb and rubbed his neck and forehead with it while Kai leaned into me with enjoyment. I also brushed out his mane and braided his forelock. When he was done cooling off I asked him to lie down before putting him back in the paddock. Kai lied down and then he started to rub his neck in the shavings to mess up his brushed mane. I gave him the last of the apple before ending the session.