Today's advice comes from Cesar Parra with advice on how to stay relaxed and not get tight between rides when taking time off for work/travel/etc. Too bad I didn't have this last week when I spent hours crammed in coach with 300 of my new closest friends. Those lucky first class fly-ers don't know how good they have it...
Anyway, Dr. Parra had a few exercises to work out the knots using- of all things- a tennis ball.
Think Tempi would lend me hers?
Anyway, after what seems like forever, I made it back in the saddle(s) today. Worked all three ponies... none of whom seem to remember a thing after nearly a week off. Delight was super stiff to the left (bend, what bend?), so we got straight then left it alone. She was surprisingly relaxed, though. Very little teleporting sideways, which is a welcome change.
Next up was RC. I was going to offer him a nice light day to stretch out and just move out, but no, he had other plans. He was lookey at the barrels in the corner, he snorted at the snow by the doorway, he spooked at the jump poles piled up on the short side, so real work it was. We did w/t transitions, then trot/halt transitions, then (AT's favorite) Trot-halt-back-trot transitions. And RC was great. Even his canter - which usually takes some tuning up- was good. He still tried to look at the 'scary' stuff lying around, but he was so responsive that it just made me ride with a smile.
Half steps? Got 'em.
Canter-trot transitions? Right with the seat.
Halt? Perfectly square.
Gosh, I love this horse sometimes.
Last on the docket was Tilly. She always gets picked last so that she has time to finish her breakfast hay before the other two ponies in her turnout finish it all off. Tilly was about as good as I have a right to expect after a week off (and another rider in the arena). She was a little lookey and not connected to the bit at all, but she moved off nicely when I asked for a trot and came back nicely when I asked for the walk. Changes in direction were hard with another horse in the arena (how is it possible to always be right where I'm planning on turning?), but all in all, the Tillner was a good pony.
Now I need to get started on teaching her to yield off the leg; turn on the forehand, leg yield, etc. We've got a ways to go.