|Chick on the snowy trail|
So we got about 7 inches of snow on Sunday, and then by Wednesday it was up to 59 degrees! It was awesome. I rode Lego, we did a nice long training ride of about 70 minutes. We trotted for much of it, continuing to work on bending, flexibility (will there ever be a day when that is not our main focus/??!!). It was a little wet out so I didn't want to canter too much and risk slipping but I figured we could get a lot of trotting work in. I was looking through my 101 Dressage Exercises book Tuesday night and found number 79, "Transitions with a Sidestep" and thought it looked like something we could do that was challenging, but he does know how to do. The directions call for a trot, but I just did it at a walk during the later part of the warm up. We walked a large oval and at 3 spots along the long side we halted, I asked for a side step, and then continued walking. You can side step inward or outward, alternating each time. The first few times we did it, he was a little fussy with his head, but after a while, he got it and was much happier about it. During our walk breaks from trotting we did a couple of them randomly too. I set up a second jump in addition to our low vertical that we usually have and spaced it about 6 strides away and slightly to the left of the original fence. I did this so we could warm up over our "usual" and then eventually add in the 2nd without being too overwhelming. We warmed up and he was doing really well, he really loves to jump and is eager (but not rushing) to get to the fences, nice and forward. I then warmed us up over the "new" jump and he did great. It was a larger crossrail. I wanted to then see how he would do on a line. I headed him towards the first fence at a canter and we found the perfect spot. We sailed over the small fence and I directed him towards the vertical. He seemed to focus in on it pretty quickly and get what we were doing and we got a pretty good spot to the vertical. I was sooooo happy that he did such good job. My mom came out and I had her watch our next one. The second time through was absolutely perfect. We got the perfect spot to the crossrail, had a great pace, a nice forward 6 stride ride to the vertical, great spot and took the vertical beautifully. It was great. I had the biggest smile on my face and such joy at how this horse is coming along. Im so happy with him. I think he was pretty proud of himself too.
So pretty big news, I am having my first lesson with Molly Bull of Plain Dealing Farm on March 7th. That will be our first lesson in the eventing world. Im excited about it!
After riding Lego, I saw Connor near the barn and so I decided I'd grab him and go for another lunging session. I think he felt much more comfortable (though still confused as to the purpose of such training). He did great going to the left, and definitely better than before going to the right. The right is WAY more difficult for him and you can see the challenge in how he has to almost cross his hind legs to make the turn. He tries very hard though and really hope that it will help. He has THE sweetest look on his face when he does it and glances to me for reassurance. How did I luck out getting such a nice boy?
Mr Jealous (aka Chick) was watching all of this going on and was NOT happy about it. He gets so jealous when I ride Lego he just stares at us with his ears locked in on us and hates it. So imagine how he is when I then also work with Connor!!! So I'm lunging Connor, and I hear a noise and I look over and Chick is standing by the crossrail I had been using with Lego. He is locked in on us and he nudges the pole with his nose sending it crashing (quietly) to the ground. He never stopped staring at us with his ears pricked. He really does hate it!!! I'll also say that I ALWAYS go say hi to him and give him extra pats, kisses, peppermints, etc on the days when I can only ride Lego due to time constraints so its not like he gets ignored!!!
Anyway, after working Connor, I tacked up Chick who was SOOO happy about getting to go to work. We went out on the trails and as you can see in the picture, we found some patches where the snow hadn't yet melted. He was a perfect boy. Even when I dropped my sunglasses and had to get off then find a bank to climb up on to remount (my OTTBs are tall for goodness sakes!!).
But wait! There's more!!! So since I was having such a great day, I decided to make it an even 4 for 4 and ride Dixie too. Mind you, she hasn't been ridden since we moved to this farm (um....5 years ago?!). She is retired in part due to a minor hip stiffness but mainly due to a really awful temperament under saddle, she just hates being ridden. She's the former polo pony who was obviously very mistreated under tack. She is very sweet on the ground, has great manners and loves everyone (well, I'd say she tolerates me...she holds grudges since I obviously love the boys more than her! hehehe). I hoped on her bareback for a little walk around the paddock and she was great. Success! All four horses got worked!
Awesome, awesome day, if only there could be more like that!!! I need to win the lottery!!!