But -4 is riding weather! The main purpose in my visit to the barn on Sunday was to let the horses get their sillies out in the hopes that they would somewhat behave for a ride on Monday.
Phantom seemed super happy to see me - or at least see the treats she hoped I had. She nickered to me when I went out to get her (which happens quite frequently these days) and then she kept nuzzling me. Well, nuzzling my hands and pockets.
She had a very good time playing. There was a pole on the ground along the track, and everytime she went down that side she gunned it towards the pole and leapt over it. Her options for take-off distances were long and longer.
I tried to rush Cisco in for a run as well but someone was crazy and thought it was warm enough to ride. It was -12 in the arena and I was cold in all my winter gear walking around in there.
Cisco ended up having to get lunged. I thought he might have been a bit silly since he was doing the idiot dance in the barn, but he was pretty quiet.
Staying on the pole theme, I threw a pole on the ground for him to go over. To the left, his tougher lead, he kept splitting his front legs over the pole and then dropping to trot. To the right he was pretty good.
Thus I upped the exercise and added a second pole - so there was one at 12 o'clock and one at 3 o'clock. First time for him over this type of exercise.
We started to the right since it was his stronger side. It took a couple of tries to get it without breaking to trot. What made a difference was getting a jumping canter - the same kind of canter I would need if I was on his back and approaching a jump. Then the poles were easy.
It ended up being the same to the left. The first couple of times he got there at a bad distance and split the front legs and dropped to trot. When I got him to improve the canter and be more forward, the two poles flowed together.
So that was a good observation and something I'll definitely have to work on under saddle for when we pop over some jumps (hoping to get serious about it this spring).
This exercise was also good for him in that there were a few times that he had to take awkward steps to get over the pole, and I could see that he was concerned the next time around. Then asking him to be more forward to the poles and then get good distances seemed to make him more confident.
Hopefully I'll manage to get on both of them on Monday and Tuesday. The weather is looking pretty good for the next couple of weeks so we'll try to get back into a routine.