(This post was written a week ago, but I hadn't posted it because I was waiting for Google Photos to download my pictures, but it still hasn't happened so you're getting a boring wall of words.)
I didn't get out to the barn on Monday (snowstorm plus a crappy sleep and very early morning) or Tuesday (late workday) so I went out after work on Wednesday, which is usually a day I avoid as it is jump lesson night. But there was a clinician coming in on Thursday and Friday, so I hoped that a bunch of the Wednesday night crew wouldn't be riding and that the arena wouldn't be crazy - and I guessed right!
Cisco was a pretty good boy, other than almost dumping me multi-times due to last-minute spooking when making a short turn out of the scary end. It's like he got around the turn, then caught something out of the corner of his eye and did a splat stare, every frickin' time. And it made me lose my balance, every frickin' time. Every time, I thought we'd made it through the turn without issue, and then splat. Super annoying.
Thursday's ride was on a fairly relaxed horse. A horse who was, yet again, totally behind my leg. I had hoped to have a chill, stretchy ride, but it turned into a FFS please go forward kind of ride.
It got better on the right rein pretty quickly. The left rein is our tougher side - Cisco's left hind is his weaker one, and when I start pushing the forward we lose the straightness, which I try to fix and then we lose the forward.
We had a great forward canter into the scary end - he really carried me down the long side and felt really up in his withers. Well, until he slammed on the brakes when he suddenly saw the barn owner pop up in the scary end while digging out flower boxes for the clinic's jump setup that she was doing. To be fair, I hadn't seen her either. But Cisco was a good boy to go back down there with only a bit of wariness on the next lap.
However, after some canter, I went back to asking for a forward trot, at which point Cisco forgot how to move off my left leg. He needed some reminders but it eventually got better and we called it quits.
Phantom felt quite good again. Her walk warmup was pretty pokey, so I figured that she would start with a shuffly trot, but she immediately picked up a trot that felt pretty springy (for her). She was ridden in the morning, when I seldom ride and is apparently a busy time for the western crew. Which meant that I had to dodge 5 riders that spent their whole time on 15 meter circles spread around the arena. (Reiners are far worse than dressage riders for sticking to a circle.)
Her right lead canter felt amazing for the first few strides - super uphill (again, for her). Even the left didn't feel too crappy. But she was pretty stiff to the right at a trot, which is usually her good side, although oddly she worked out her stiffness to the left and had some nice bending, so who knows what that means.
I'm planning to ride again on Friday night - Cisco will think he's in hell after three rides in a row! Hopefully I'll be able to hop on Phantom as well - will she still feel good after two rides in a row? Fingers crossed!