It's actually been a busy horse week!
The cold spell that we've been having (the longest, coldest spell since 1969, with 13 out of 15 consecutive days having daytime highs colder than -20 celsius) finally broke at the beginning of the week. On Monday it actually warmed up almost 10 degrees from when I went home from work in the middle of the afternoon to when I left the barn at around 9:30 that night.
I had gone out a bit later that evening as I figured everyone would be out to ride early. I was right. But I timed it nicely so that when I rode there were only a couple of other horses in the arena.
Cisco was a very good boy for his second ride of the year. I kept the ride pretty short as I didn't want him to get sweaty, but it wasn't a problem because it was much cooler in the arena than it was outside. The only real issue we had was that he kept ignoring my left leg, and as I didn't have my spurs on my new winter boots, I didn't have any back-up. It got better through the ride, but he definitely seemed to pick and choose when he thought it should apply.
Since the weather has warmed up, it was also time to clip. Tuesday night was a good night for it as I had to be up early on Wednesday for work and clipping only takes me 45 minutes or so. Cisco got done, I still need to do Phantom, but I wanted to get my blades sharpened before tackling her polar pony coat.
|The only pic I took of his clip, which was used to judge how even both side of the clip was.|
Thursday I awoke to a beautiful day.
If you were an arctic duck.
For those of us who aren't arctic ducks, it was yucky. I awoke at 6am to rain, that froze and made driving treacherous. Google maps was a sea of orange and red roads at 8am.
|Phantom was not amused at the weather.|
Unfortunately, it was farrier morning, so I had to leave the house. Luckily, the other two ladies who share my farrier messaged me that morning and said that they would go first so I got to stay home until 10 am, which allowed the rush hour traffic to die down. The roads were still pretty icy though when I went out - I've never seen as many cars in the ditch along the highway as I have over the last few weeks.
After the ponies got their toenails trimmed, I tacked Cisco up for a ride. The overhead door to the arena is being kept open (still warmer outside than inside) and that was a little exciting for Cisco. There is some kind of magnetic pull that makes him bulge towards it and prevents him from being able to go into the corners in the scary end. Thankfully, I had remembered to put spurs on this time.
He wasn't actually too bad about gravitating to the open door, but if I gave him an excuse to throw his shoulders in that direction, he took it.
I threw one challenge at him (that we should have sorted out long before now, but oh well) and asked him to pick up the outside canter lead down the long sides. We tried this one day outside this past summer, didn't really manage to get the specific lead down the center of the field. But we've been doing a lot of work on the canter transitions, so I was optimistic that there would be improvement.
Tracking right, Cisco got the first attempt wrong, but then nailed the next three. Tracking left was a bit stickier though, and I had to simplify it a bit for him by coming off the rail and angling a back towards it a bit while asking for the canter. It still took a couple of attempts, but once he got the first one he seemed to figure it out.
We'll test it again over the next few rides. One of the things I want to work on this year is counter-canter, so I'd like to make sure that he really understands the aid for canter leads.
I've been really happy with how he's come back from his vacation. The barn owner was riding at the same time as me and commented on how well he's going (she hasn't seen him go in quite a while). I still think that the soundproof ear covers were the turning point last year. I had taken the Pivo out as a last-minute decision to try to catch some of my ride, but it apparently wasn't fully charged since I last used it in the fall and it died about 15 minutes in. Oops.