Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pie Plus Two

We've been having a beautiful October so far - today it was in the low 80sF with some wind and sun - just gorgeous with the trees changing color.  I rode for the 5th day in a row, and today I rode all three horses.

Dawn was up first.  I haven't ridden her much recently, but she was very good, and as always very forward.  We didn't work too hard as she's somewhat out of shape, but did a lot of stretching down at walk and trot, some lengthening and shortening of trot and also some spiral in/out work.

Then it was Drifter's turn.  He'd had yesterday off, and I was interested to see how he'd do.  He'd already been doing some self-exercising when I got there - he was hot and sweaty from running in his pasture, probably because Dawn was out of sight - apparently he sometimes does some running in the afternoon.  He was unusually obsessed with Dawn today, doing lots of calling every time she appeared and screaming when she was out of sight in the barn.

But Drifter was very good when I rode him.  We started out just standing around in the arena - one of the community gardeners had just dragged a plastic box over to his garden to do some harvesting, and I wanted the box to complete its trip back to the gardener's car before I mounted up - it made a very loud noise when dragged on the gravel path.  So Drifter and I used the opportunity to just stand there together on a loose lead.  He was very relaxed about it and didn't fidget at all.  When the gardener dragged his box back, Drift watched it go down the grassy side of the arena - it looked odd but didn't make much noise.  We followed it down towards the other end. Then the gardener got to the gravel path and the noise got very loud.  Drifter's head came up and his eyes got very large, but he didn't move a muscle.  I was very proud of him.

Then I mounted up and we had a medium length, intense work session.  We started with some walk work on a loose rein to get him to stretch down and engage behind - he now travels straight when he moves with a proper amount of forward so long as I focus on where we're going, which is a big improvement from when I started riding him where he would veer all over the place.  Then we did a lot of trot work - figures and lengthening/shortening, and transitions - it was all very nice.  Then we moved up to canter -  today we worked on the left lead which is a bit easier for him.  Only one bit of not too serious balking - otherwise his departures were very good and he maintained the canter until I asked him to transition down.  We did this a number of times, and then I halted him and jumped off - I was very pleased with him.

Charisma's owner had showed up and she took a nice 30-minute trail ride with Pie and me.  All we did was walk - I'm bringing him back into work very slowly - but he stepped out nicely and led for the second half of the ride.  We had one startle/spook while he was leading where someone was working bent over in his yard next to the trail - the type where the horse sinks about a foot and the legs splay out - but he didn't spin and moved right on by once he figured out it wasn't something to be scared of - I had the person stand up and speak to us.  Pie's now been pretty much symptom-free for 10 days, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm very fortunate to have three fine horses, all of whom are sound at the moment and each of whom presents their own unique combination of talents and things that need work - I feel very fortunate.

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