Thursday, December 1, 2011

There Goes the Sun

After a week of beautiful 50 degree sunny weather, we are now back to the standard Michigan MO: Grey and cold. The last two mornings that I’ve been out to ride, it’s been under 20 degrees outside. Yesterday the snow started again.

The upshot about snow is that Mr. Scott loves it. He was in high hog heaven when I opened the door and let the dogs out to pee while I brewed my morning coffee. Running (and yapping) with Bacon in big sweeping loops was high on Mr Scott’s agenda this morning. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have too many close neighbors….
"Weeeeeee" says Mr Scott

Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday visitors is over, I’ve started a new riding schedule: Horses in the morning, work in the afternoon. The upshot to this plan is that no one else is using the arena when I’m schooling my ponies, the downside is that it’s dark when I leave the house in the morning and dark when I get back in the evening, so no light to walk the dogs. They seem to be ok with playing fetch by flashlight, though. .. Scott seems to think that by ‘fetch’ I mean catch whichever poodle got to the ball first. Tempi is not a fan.

"I got the ball! It's MINE!"
As for the barn situation, RC is handling the cold with food. Keeping plenty of hay in front of him at all times seems to take the edge off, so he’s happy, I’m happy, we’re all happy. Delight doesn’t even notice that the cold is here again. She’s in her fuzzy german pony coat, impervious to the wind and snow. Tilly (now affectionately known as the Tillner, thanks Courtney) is growing her winter pony coat at an alarming rate. She won’t be cold as winter hits (though she does love being blanketed. Spoiled rotten ponies).
RC shuns hair growth for the food method

Delight’s new ‘spook at everything’ phase is presenting a little bit of a challenge for me. I oscillate between trying to hold her together, which only slows her hind legs allowing her to become even more reactive, and treating her like a young pony and not forcing the issue. Neither is the right answer (but shoulder ins are so hard!). Now I’m much more careful about asking for leg yields through the corners or a baby half-pass to leg yield on the long side (Deli’s half-passes at the walk are super, but the trot is still a bit… erratic). She did manage to catch me off guard and sling me over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. So glad that no one was around to see me eat dirt (even though it was an embarrassingly pathetic fall, where I slid over her shoulder and landed on my feet facing a very surprised pony)...

Tilly has been the good pony this week. We had one spook and scoot where she rushed across the diagonal, but other than that, she’s been a wonderful pony. I hope that she’s not too calm (already kicking myself for thinking this, especially since I have Delight in a tough phase at the moment) to be a good competitor not just an ammy friendly horse. Crossing fingers… Anyway, she has been walk-trot-and cantering with me all week! Her canter is a little rushed, and I keep catching myself leaning forward (stop it! Stop the ugly riding!), but we’re getting it! Her trot work is slowly becoming more and more on the bit, even though she still has those moments of “I can’t do this without my head in the air!”, but they are getting fewer and farther between. Thank goodness.

And RC… Well, he’s my wonder pony. On those days when I worry that I’ll never be able to take Delight anywhere or that Tilly should be farther along than she is I can take him for a ride and reassure myself that I do, in fact, know how to train a nice horse.

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