This winter has been brutal for so much of the country! I’m starting to think that if spring doesn’t come soon everyone is going to “go postal”. Of course I’m watching it snow again from my little, warm apartment, but luckily I have been able to do some consistent riding and it’s starting to show with Bahea. Her back is filling in ever so slightly and her trot is becoming much smoother and more even. I’ve started adding some lateral work back into the routine – mostly leg yield and a little shoulder fore/shoulder-in. As soon as we start with it she curls and wants to get behind the vertical. My guess is that she was ridden in draw reins at some point so my goal is to encourage her forward, up and out (but not hollow) with her head and neck when we move laterally.
For a change of pace last weekend I put out ground poles. I figure she was fit enough to start doing them and I was curious to see how she’d react. Well, first time through she pricked her ears as soon as she saw them, broke into a canter and did a 2-stride bounce through the 4 poles. Ha ha! I was told she had jumped at one time. She obviously remembers it and liked it! It took a few tries to settle her down through the poles but once she realized that jumping was not part of the equation, she trotted through the poles nicely. Since she obviously enjoys that sort of thing I want to incorporate more poles into our work.
The last time I rode before the snow I actually rode in the outdoor arena. Hooray! Finally the snow and ice had melted and the footing thawed and dried enough to be in really good shape. Yes it was cold (30 degrees I think), but the sun was shining and I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity. This was the first time I rode her outside. She looked around at the horses turned out and made a sideways glance at a remaining snow pile, but otherwise was very good. It was nice to get her in a larger space (the indoor arena is the 20m by 40m) and to know that she is not easily distracted by the goings on around her. We finished with a walk around the grass jumping field. She stopped and stared at the horses who came over to the fence, but moved on when I asked. Riding outside was so enjoyable for both of us. I look forward to taking her out on the trail and seeing what she does there. In company I suspect she will be just fine.
So here’s hoping the snow melts quickly and warmer weather makes a return. Bahea and I are ready to go!