Thursday 25 April 2019

Walking on Sunshine

I'm on vacation this week. My plan was to get lots of saddle time in. That doesn't look like it going to happen though.

I made sure I got out on Monday, which was going to be the nicest day of the week. Both horses got ridden. Tuesday was going to be my sit at home on my ass day (I always have one while on vacation). Wednesday was supposed to be productive, but I got up too late as I finished a book after I woke up. I had an appointment at 5pm so by the time I got going I lost my window to be able to get a ride in.

It's also been super windy so outside things are not fun. Waking up in the morning and hearing the wind blowing against the house is not conducive to jumping out of bed to leave the house.

So for the first part of my week off, I rode on Sunday (which I blogged about previously) and Monday.

Since Monday was going to be beautiful, with sun and 20 degree weather, it was to be an outside day.
It was finally nice enough to be able to hose off some things and hang them to dry, like my Prolite girth.
I arrived just after lunch to ride Cisco. The plan was to ride him in the field next to the arena. Another person was heading out there at the same time as me to do gallop sets, so I figured that would be a good experience for him - to be out in an open area where he was a bit nervous, and another horse was out there but doing different things than us.

It didn't take him too long to settle at a walk. We weren't at all straight, as his shoulders were bulging one way or another and my open rein and leg was useless at trying to correct it. But it wasn't terrible steering, just bigger, wider turns that what I was aiming for.

Same at the trot. Very bulgey with his head up. But our pace was good. And he didn't have any concern about the other horse riding past or away from him.

Eventually, he relaxed. And gave me some wonderful attempts at pretending to be a hunter while riding some large figure-8's. Neck low, nose down and forward. Finally!
It was also warm enough to hose off the sweat marks after riding. So we stood outside to eat dinner while drying. 
We had come back to walk with lots of praise, and I decided I would try one more lap and see if I could get the same relaxation going around the perimeter of the field as when we had been doing the figure-8's.

Our ongoing issue is that Cisco bulges out his right shoulder and falls to the right through upward walk/trot transistions. I try to remember to really set the transition up by turning my shoulders to the right, sitting on my right seat bone, and often resort to going onto a small circle to get the right bend before asking for the trot.

As per normal, when I was setting him up to ask for the trot, he dropped his shoulder to the right. So I put him on a circle. And he suddenly decided that he knew how to move laterally off my leg.

I've introduced the leg-yield to him, so this isn't a foreign concept. I've never really schooled it with him though.

The difference in this time versus every other time I've asked for it was that it was easy. I put my right leg on, he deliberately moved forward and sideways. Then I switched to my left leg, and got the same reaction.

So I scrapped the plan of trotting another lap around the field and spent half a lap moving him sideways in both directions instead. With heaps of good boys and scratches in between.

Yet another super ride that I was really happy about. It was a good thing that I decided to ride him first, because by the time I was ready to ride Phantom, the wind had started gusting and I had to ride inside, which probably would have turned Cisco into a neurotic mess.
This is the result of taking pony selfies with short arms to hold the phone. 
Phantom, however, doesn't give a shit about a noisy, creaky arena, so she was nice and relaxed for her first ride back after her vaccination. The overhead door at the far end was open a couple of feet and we could see the grass outside blowing in the wind, which was kind of freakin' out the other horse in the ring (who is something like 22 years old), but Phantom kept dragging me over there wanting to see what was going on.

I'm glad that I made sure to take advantage of the nice day and have a couple of good rides and get a few things done at the barn. I haven't had too much incentive between the wind and just feeling tired for the rest of the week so far. I'm going to try to ride each horse at least once over the weekend, as I'm substitute teaching for someone for about 6 hours each on Saturday and Sunday, and there is a show at my barn on those days, so I don't know how busy it will be when I manage to get out there later in the afternoon. Not to mention the potential for snow that is in the forecast for Saturday!

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