Monday 16 April 2018

No Distractions

Fun fact - my city (as of Friday) is on it's 167th consecutive day of having temperatures below 0 C at some point during the day.  The last day that the temperature stayed above 0 all day was October 28th. (For those that don't understand Celsius - 0 = 32 F.) It currently looks like we'll be adding at least another 10 days to this record. I feel quite justified in all of my whining about the cold this winter. (Edited to add that we actually managed to stay at 1 degree overnight on Saturday so the new record is 168 days.)

At least the daytime highs are starting to get a bit better. Which means - say it together, boys and girls - mud. Mud and water everywhere.
I have to go around the poo lake to get to the ponies at their hay island.

This is the first spring that the BO has had this property. It looks like she'll have some grading work to do this summer.

Thankfully the arena wasn't flooded enough that I couldn't ride Cisco on Friday night. He was super chill in the barn while I tacked up. He lunged quite well despite the sounds coming from the scary vent due to the wind.

For the first time in a while, I was going to have the arena to myself. I set up some trot poles of various styles - single, double at 9', and sets of 3. I wanted to try my theory that giving him something to keep his brain busy would settle him a bit and reduce his fussiness.

I think we've done poles only 2 or 3 times, and only one of those times did we try the three poles together. Going over the poles isn't a problem (other than the first time through the three when he brought himself back to walk over them) - it's the steering and lack of straightness that are the issues. But his fussiness definitely got better as we worked our way through them.

So we did our first itty bitty trot pole course. There's lots of room for improvement, but we got to where we wanted to go with minimal fuss.

Since the ride was going so well, I thought I might as well screw it up and try a canter again. It took about 4 attempts in the same place to chase him into it, but once he got it, it was nice and forward (with his head up in the air) and mostly steerable. We cantered about 2/3 of a 30m circle before I had to bring him back to trot because it was only mostly steerable and there was a jump in our way.

We did one more identical canter and I figured I should hop off before I really did screw up the ride.
I guess he can stay for another day.
It was nice to have a ride by ourselves to remember that he is much better without distractions. His steering into the corners took only one reminder to fix, and he could actually go straight-ish down the long sides. So is it time to put a bit more pressure on him when riding with other people? I think so, but I will have to pick my battles depending on what is going on around me. During a munchkin jumping lesson will not be a good time.

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