Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy, Happy - Dawn Excels and Pie Follows

We're having some very strange weather lately - very dry and 10-20 degrees or more above normal for this time of year.  It's been going on for weeks, although it's supposed to finally get colder at the end of the week.  For now, there's been lots of good weather to enjoy, and all three horses have been making expeditions outside in pasture rides during our work sessions, and Red has been doing pasture patrol with me.

Dawn continues to excel - it seems that every ride we have is better than the last.  Her canter work is improving by leaps and bounds (not literally, although now that I think about it . . .).  Today we did a lot of loose rein cantering around the whole arena.  Departures were on a loose rein as well - she just steps into canter as soon as the thought of the new rhythm and energy level crosses my mind.  She was excellently forward, but not rushing, and really stepping under herself and carrying herself well - the spring was really coming through from behind - all I had to do was sit there quietly in a neutral posture and breathe.  We also did some really nice circles at the canter, and when I ask her to maintain the bend correctly, she is able to find a very nice soft carriage.  She also did something very sweet - as I was getting ready to lead her to the mountain block, she lifted and turned her head and placed her muzzle on my shoulder right next to my neck.  We just stood there and breathed together for a moment - it was lovely.

Pie and I continue to work on our forward and small circles - he's doing very well with this at the walk and trot, although oddly enough he does better at bending and tracking up at the trot when I sit the trot than when I post - there's something about how I feel to him that changes - it's not true for my other two horses so I'll have to think on that.  Canter is still very much a work in progress, but we're inching along towards softness - he tends to invert and fall on his inside shoulder.  I think the solution to that is to work on his small circles at trot so we have those concepts to transfer to canter.  Then large circles at canter may help him get the hang of carrying himself softly, while balancing himself correctly.

This morning, after I rode Dawn, I walked out to say hi to Pie, who was coming up to the water trough to drink.  He drank and drank and drank, with tongue sucking in between - I'll have to get a picture of that some day.  He's a big drinker, which is a good thing considering how much hay he eats.  When he was done, I started walking back out to the round bales to say hi to Red, and Pie followed along right behind me.  When I stopped, he stopped, when I turned, he turned.  Pie is rarely openly affectionate, but this seemed pretty sweet to me.  Once we got to the round bales, I said hi to Red and Pie walked off to eat.

And a very merry Thanksgiving to all of you in the United States!

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