In the barn....
Ahm, after yesterday's unplanned excursion involving two Dans, my truck and a ditch, let's just say that the Ponitas had two days off. While Tilly can handle this kind of lackadaisical work schedule, La Ponita Uno will not tolerate this kind of laziness! And she will punish it in ways that make the tiny muscles in my forearms hurt, my abs hurt, the muscles along my spine hurt... All to try to keep myself in the center when she decides to teleport sideways.
Of course I worked Delight first. Always start with biggest handful first; the reasons are twofold. One, this way I have the most energy to counteract the Pony chess game that occurs every ride (must think three moves ahead of Delight.... otherwise she wins), and two, while expending that excess energy to outwit the pony, I work up a good sweat. This way I am nice and toasty through my rides. No getting chilly for me when it's 13 degrees in the arena, no sir, I'm out there shedding coats so that I don't over heat.
Long story short (too late), By the end of my hour with Delight, we had mostly come to an understanding, that I was going to keep her connected on the bit and she was going to go forward. We achieved this through liberal application of ten meter circles, leg yields and shoulder-ins but by the end of the ride, we looked more like a dressage team in training and less like an out of control pony clubber who's be severely over horsed.
RC was next. Not for any good reason, just that he and Delight are penned right next to each other and he was pretty certain that I had taken Delight inside for the sole purpose of feeding her delicious goodies. Joke's on him when we actually tack up to work! Hah!
Anyway, we amble into the arena with the fleece cooler over the saddle covering RC to prevent his tail from disappearing any further into his butt (he really would prefer a heated arena....), where I promptly ditch my coat, again, and we warm up a bit on the loose rein. I can hear the wind picking up (and my phone is buzzing with texts from the weather service: 4 messages warning of lake effect snow sometime in the next few days), and while RCs eyes get oddly wide, he's pretty much unpreturbed as long as he's snug in his blanket. We even moved on to some stirrup-less work (because obviously I haven't worked hard enough yet. Take that legs and abs!) to try to erradicate some of those bad habits that seem to creep into my riding.
So two good rides. Most underwhelming blog update ever, right?
I brought Tilly in, brushed her, gave her a carrot (finally a treat she loves), saddled her up then stood there talking to her for a minute while warming her bit up with my bare hands (bwwwahhhh! brrrrrr...). As I'm bridling Ponita Tres, we hear the WHUMP! WHUMPWHUMPWHUMP! of a nail gun. Tilly, stoic pony that she is, leaps about two feet straight up in the air at the initial WHUMP! For the following whumps, she does the pony crouch, where the pony seems to shrink and could bolt in any direction (just to let you know that they could and you should appreciate them all the more for their pony bravery), but then returns to the original standing position instead. Great.
I lead her into the arena, using the lungeline, since I figure that two days off in the cold might have earned her a few minutes on the lunge before I get on her... And she's fine. As if nothing had happened.
Psh, what a wimp you are, I scold myself as I swing up on to the flat hunter saddle I've been using on Tilly.
And Tilly is out of there!
We probably set a pony sprinting record.... With me flailing around on top of her like a limp noodle (great riding... This is what years and years of lessons should look like, I'm sure) trying to find either of my stirrups and not get left behind the motion. But it's ok. Forward is good, right? We ride our young horses forward through the problem, so just let her go, but start asking for connection. That's the game plan now.
I get her back in the trot, and we start doing figure eights, 12 meter circles, changing direction willy nilly, and she's starting to settle down. And of course, I'm starting to sweat again, so off comes the jacket.
She's a pretty calm pony, I winder if she'll mind if I just toss it to the side?
Yes. Yes she did.
With a snort that Opie would have been proud of we teleported 20 meters to the left with her tail over her back and her neck arched like an arab.
And I did my limp noodle riding impression again.
Back to the changing directions, small circles, figure eights and baby connection. We dabbled in the canter a little bit (didn't even bolt at the next volley of nails) then called it a day.
And I do this all for fun. I'm gonna need to soak in a hot bath tonight.....