Vacation is over Red Pony! Back to the grind!
Red was more than happy to come in today as the paddock is in lockdown since gun season started yesterday, which means he squeezed in with four other horses that he has to share hay with. Boooo. But barn equals free cookies and nothing is better than that.
|looking soo good!|
Aside from being a little strong at the trot, our warm up went amazingly. Part of it was that he was fresh so he was really moving out beautifully, but the other part was that I was actually riding him! Hellooo. Why did no one tell me this before?! My whole focus today was gluing my elbows back so they stayed at my sides and only softening my hands when he relaxed and started bending and collecting instead of throwing my arms at his face and losing whatever progress we'd made. It was tough, and it took him awhile to figure out that I wasn't caving, but at the walk and trot when we finally got it, it was so good. SO good. Easily THE BEST his dressage work has ever been in the six years I've been riding him. It's like he's been waiting for me to figure out how to ask for the last piece of the puzzle. We're not amazing dressage partners yet by any means, but I finally saw and felt a fancy dressage horse in there somewhere.
The canter wasn't quite as good--he was a lot stronger than at the trot and it was all about the half halts. Fortunately, the canter is Red's best gait and when he picks up the correct lead, it's more about keeping him straight and his shoulder up than any crazy frame adjustments. He was good to the left, a little crooked when I stopped riding him for a few strides, but otherwise nothing to be ashamed of. When I brought him down to the trot, it took less than one full circuit of the arena before he was going in his fancy new dressage trot.
To the right, he was definitely rusty and he didn't get his lead until the third try. He was also much quicker this way and my shoulders were crying by the time we were done. When I brought him back down to the trot, it took us a long time to get back to the fancy trot. Whenever I'd start to soften my hands when I thought he was getting it, he'd start cantering again and we'd have to start all over. But he did eventually get it--maybe a little fast--so we ended there.
I only rode for about thirty minutes, but it was a hardcore workout for both of us softies, so I'm totally satisfied with it. We wandered briefly around the barn before heading back in.
|we walked out of the arena, past my car.|
|down the hill to his pasture.|
|made a circle through muddy tire tracks.|
|back up the hill.|
|past the lurking barn cat.|
|past the monster house/hay storage.|
|looking shiny and almost not ribby anymore!|
It's super warm here today, but there is no way I'm leaving his sheet off. He was SO. CLEAN. And now that I'm going to be riding him regularly again, I'm not killing myself scrubbing eight inches of mud off of him every day. I did, however, put his lighter sheet on which means that he also got to wear his new shoulder guard because the Horze sheet is cut really strangely.
|man in black.|
And, just for your amusement, here's Hubby roping off of Red a week and a half ago: