Yesterday, I had a couple more excellent rides, the first on Dawn. I'm still getting over my respiratory bug, so I didn't ride her for more than about a half hour, but we had a wonderful session. I worked again on having a very soft, allowing contact and she again did no bracing, pulling or head-bobbing, but just settled into a lovely state of softness and responsiveness. She also no longer revs up in the trot in anticipation of the canter - she's much more settled mentally in her soft state - but of course that makes sense, as her softness of body is just a reflection of her inner softness.
Pie and I also had a very good session. We used cones to help my focus, and as with Dawn, I was really looking for that soft connection with him from the start - the "feel" when the horse is with you. And by offering it to him, I got it back in return - no stiffness, or bracing, just lovely, fluid soft movement, with lovely transitions.
It's strange how we often think of softness as something the horse has to give to us, when it's really the other way around - if we can offer the horse softness that leads them to offer it in return, if we can consistently give them a soft place to find. It's really magical when the feel is there.
I also put Mr. Red on the lunge to see how he's doing soundness-wise. His leg has been looking very clean for several days, and he's been offering trot on the lunge without my asking, so I was suspecting he was feeling better. And in fact that was the case - although he took a few careful steps with the left hind at the start, he very quickly settled into a comfortable trot in both directions with very little indication of any discomfort. I'd say he's about 95% back to soundness, seven weeks after his injuries. Today I'm going to walk him under saddle for about 10 minutes, and work up to 20 minutes over the next several days. After that, I'll put him on the lunge again and make sure that things are still progressing in the correct direction with the addition of my weight and that of the saddle.
And my younger daughter is briefly home for a visit, and she's hoping to spend some time with Dawn - it should be fun to see them together again.