Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good Rides All Around

It was a beautiful day today - sunny and crisp with a bit of wind - and I managed to have three really fine rides.

Dawn was up first, and we had the indoor arena to ourselves.  It was quite chilly, and she was very forward but also responsive.  She did some very nice softening work at the trot, both shortened and lengthened, and then we did a good bit of canter work.  We did a number of laps of the ring - there's one very deep area in the footing along part of one side, but we did fine by coming to the inside of that area.  There was one point where we were cantering on the right lead - this is the lead she finds harder to maintain - where our circuit required us to come to the inside to avoid the deep spot - she did a flying lead change to the left lead, but because I was still thinking the feel of the right lead, she did a flying change back to the right lead after a single stride in left lead.  A one tempi, if unintentional - the mare is seriously athletic.  I should try some counter canter with her, although our indoor arena is too small and the turns too tight - we might be able to attempt it out in the field.

In the afternoon, Red and Pie got rides as well - they'd both had two days off.  I rode Red first, so that we could be in arena immediately after it was dragged when the footing was at its best.  We had a really fine ride in walk and trot - he's now trotting well all the way around the ring, including turns and diagonals.  He still tires quickly and the downwards transitions aren't always good - sometimes he just lets go with the left hind rather than using it - but all in all his rehab is progressing really well.  His trot just feels wonderful - it's great to be riding it again.  I also got to lead him to the outdoor arena and we rode around there a bit at the walk - he managed the hills to and from very well with no hind leg dragging.

Pie and I also had a fine ride.  We warmed up at the walk out in the pasture with its hills - it's quite a workout out there even at the walk, and then returned to the indoor for a very nice session in all three gaits.  We were the only horse in the ring - it's not a very big ring so that's an advantage - and he did some very good shortening and lengthening work at the trot and we also did some nice canter work.  His balance at the canter is improving in both leads, and we were able to make several circuits of the ring with him managing the corners well.  He still tends to invert when cantering, but we did manage several moments of softness - that will come.  After our ride, as we do every day, I fed him his evening grain with the addition of his 120 doxyclycline pills and a generous dressing of cocosoya oil - he gobbled everything up and licked his dish clean.  We've been 7 days at the full dose - only another 23 days to go . . .

The weather's warming up over the next several days, so I expect there's more riding in my future . . .

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