Thursday, 30 January 2020

The I Don't Really Wanna Night

I set off for work on Tuesday morning with the intention of heading straight out to the barn once work was done. 5 o'clock came, and I sat in my car trying to decide if I really wanted to ride. It was colder than I thought it was going to be, there was something waiting at the post office for me to pick up that I really wanted to grab, and I was tired and had to work the next morning. The forecast was showing a good possibility of freezing rain and wind for Wednesday evening though. So if I was going to take a night off, Wednesday would be the better option. So I made myself head out to the barn.

And I'm glad I did - I had a really good ride!

I went out to catch Cisco in yet another night of fog. I could barely see across to the arena when I went out to catch him, but by the time we were tacked up and headed over the fog had mostly dissipated. There were a couple of bad spots on the highway home a couple of hours later though. We don't usually get a lot of fog but this year it's been pretty frequent.
Frosty strings hanging from the gate.
We were alone in the arena so Cisco was a bit spooky in the scary end of the arena to start. I've been trying not to make a big deal about it (although it's super frustrating). During the last couple of rides I've been riding him into the corners and halting at that end. I figure that if I can get a decent corner than it sets us up to have a better chance of making through the end without falling in too much.

After the last couple of rides, he now has the idea of walking into the corner and halting, even on a loose rein. He still looks for something to jump out at him, and then bulges his shoulder to the inside around the short side (especially going left), but this gives me a chance of getting through that end without too many steering issues.

There were a couple of poles set up on awkward diagonals out of the corners at the happy end. I figured it was a good chance to work on turning off my outside aids, and I added in some leg yield to the wall after changing direction and coming around again. We haven't done much leg yielding recently and I need to get that going.

He actually did quite well with this exercise. The leg yield was quite good off the left leg, and with a reminder from Mr. Tappy had good moments off the right leg. Before his winter vacation I had a couple of rides where I got zero response at a trot and had to step back to a walk to reinforce it, so the fact that something happened was good on it's own. (Lol I have such low standards.)

Even better, at a canter I managed to push him out on a circle in a leg-yieldy way. Well, on the better right lead at least. On our mutually crappy left lead there was a feeble attempt by my weak limb to move him over. Didn't really happen. Of course there were so many other craptacular things going on this direction that this was the least of my worries.

I decided to throw an exercise at a canter at him and see how he coped. We did a 30m circle at canter, came back to trot, changed direction through the circle, picked up the new lead, and repeat.

Cisco did way better than I thought he would do. We nailed our leads and transitions. He didn't lose his brain with the quick transitions. He was actually far more confused as to why he was still trotting after the canter and not being allowed to drop to a walk.
Post-ride tired pony.
I think we did three times on each rein before walking. Cisco was pretty tired at the end. I was hoping that the changes of direction and transitions would help with the quality of the canter, especially left, but I think he got tired and the last canter was probably the worst. Oh well, it's a work in progress.

I tried to rush out of the barn so that I could still make it to the post office on my way home. A horse in the barn who looked like he was a touch colicky almost thwarted my plans, but the barn owner got home a couple of minutes after I called her with the heads up. I arrived about 5 minutes before the post office closed, then picked up a pizza on the way home.

It was a good night.

And yes, we did get freezing rain on Wednesday evening. I made the right decision.

(It looks like my Pixio robot was delivered in France yesterday. Pretty quick for having dropped it off at the post office on Friday night. It also adds to the annoyance as to how long it takes to ship something within my own country - usually a full week!)

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