It was 58F and a bit humid when I got home Wednesday night from work. Having just come off nearly two weeks below freezing it felt darn near summer like. There was no way I wasn’t going to ride!
Feeding the horses took 1/5th the amount of time without having to de ice water buckets and I found myself turning on the arena lights to ride for the first time.
Exercise #2 is a single ground pole set in the middle of the arena and used as the center of a figure 8. You are supposed to mark the center of the pole or use a striped pole (which is what I have) to use as the target for going over the pole each time. Then you ride various sized figure 8s in both directions over the pole. Goals include proper bend, symmetry and proper geometry. The main focus was about learning to look several strides ahead so that you were looking at the pole many strides out (they didn’t specifics how many) and then looking ahead once you were at the pole instead of at it. This was to be done at the walk and trot.
I dressed Gem in the dressage gear this time and we headed out. The darkness played in my favor as she had nothing to look at outside the arena and was forced to focus on me.
The exercise was less exciting than number one and I tried to mix it up as best as I could but it was still pretty repetitive. Repetition is not good for Gem which made this exercise harder than the first one. Gem did super well though and we even started to have a baby amount of bend which is way better than the mostly counter bent way of going we perfected on Sunday.
After a while I decided to canter her for the first time in the arena. This is a big space and I am a wimp, so I’ve been avoiding it but it felt like as good a time as any. She picked up the correct lead no issue but then decided she was having fun and wanted to play. She spent the first two circles flinging her head from side to side and threatening to throw in a few happy bucks. 19 year old mare won’t grow up.
Just as she was settling in and I was preparing to canter a 20 m circle over the ground pole, Wyatt came over and wanted to talk so we meandered to the gate and chatted with him for a while before he disappeared into the night again. This house is so amazing for his independence! With our house pretty much in the middle of the 30 acres and fenced in on three sides with the pond the fourth, he has the freedom to go explore and play without me up his butt all the time. It’s great for everyone.
He left and I turned Gem back to work mode. Typically once she believes we are done and I ask her to work again she becomes a hollowed out pissed off mare, but this time she got back to it although it did take a few circles to get her to relax again. I asked her to do the figure 8s a few more times and then called it a night.
It was only 20 minutes of work, but yak like Gem on a 58 degree night was starting to get that horse sweat smell and was breathing a bit harder than she should after only 20 minutes of effort. Fat mare is out of shape just like her owner. Anyway…these short but more frequent rides have been going super well for us so I called it quits and grabbed Nash after putting her in her stall to dry out before going outside for the night.