Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Winter: I'm done with you.

Do you ever have those days where you just have to shake things up and do something different otherwise you'll just scream?

Well, maybe not scream, but definitely mope around instead of getting anything actually accomplished. I reached that point today.

Ironicly, this whole week  - and part of the weekend- has been really nice. Nearly - dare I say it? - Spring-like;  above 30 degrees and partly sunny! The things I could have accomplished in a full sized arena... counter canters, extensions, half-pass transitions, build a freestyle, sunbathe, you name it.

Tilly gets photobombed by someone else enjoying a roll
But, of course, no matter how nice it is out there, there is still two feet of snow/slush/ice on the ground, so inside we stay.

Tilly had today off because of how much of a rock star pony she was yesterday. She lengthened. She leg-yielded. She had flowing transitions. She moved off the leg. She gave to the bit.
So today, she ate and got brushed before being reblanketed since the temps are supposed to drop back into the teens tomorrow. No more naked pony time (but it was good while it lasted).

Since Tilly, my easy ride, had the day off I opted to end the ennui with RC. We've been doing round supple circles for months and we're both getting a little sick of it. So today we jumped.

Umm, excuse me... You did what???

"Uh, dude. You left something in my way...."
Yep, you read correctly. I dragged poles, standards and cavallettis out (which was a refreshing change from having to put everything away before I can work a horse... but seriously, would it kill people to clean up their junk?) and set up a cavalletti and one cross rail jump. It was maybe 18" tall, so don't worry... I am not stretching the athletic limits of my horse.
Anyway, I warmed up RC, per usual, then trotted the cavalletti before tackling the cross rail - trot in, canter out. And I think he had a blast. He started out a little tense on the landing, but afterhe figured out that I'm really not going to ask anything difficult from him, he relaxed into it with only a handful of embarrassing over-jumping attempts. All's well that ends with a relaxed happy horse.
I even broke a sweat, so I must have been doing something right.
"What's a guy gotta do to get a drink around here?"
Now, what with all of the snow we've had over the winter, and the fact that the water tanks are only 18" deep (don't ask. I'm actually proud that I can't follow the train of thought that went into that decision making process), the ice and packed snow is now taller than the top of the tanks. I'm glad that RC has figured out how to stay hydrated despite the difficulties... but really, there has got to be a better way to water the horses than this.

And then it was on to Delight.
I'll admit that I was lazy. I left the jump paraphernalia in the arena... And rode the exact same lesson plan as I did with RC. Except that Delight is on the AP track, where RC may still be in the 'academic' (read: average) program. Delight barely has to try over the cavalletti or that 18" cross rail. I thought briefly about raising the rail  or (gasp!) making it a vertical instead... but I chickened out hard. So a cross rail, it remained.
Delight, try to put any less effort into this...
I even tried something new: I hit 'record' on my little camera and set it on the edge of the arena. The quality of that camera sucks, as evidence by these screen captures. Ugh.
Anyway, Delight decided that the cross rail was nothing more than a bigger trot pole, which led to possibly the most awkward attempt I have ridden on her (and let's face it, riding over a pole is not my forte anyway). So I graduated delight to the canter, since evidently the trot-in-canter-out approach was mind-numbingly boring for her.
With a much better effort, I even managed to look half-way tactful in my riding. And two good 'jumps' later, we walked it out. I will say that Delight was pretty proud of herself at the end of the day. Maybe I wasn't the only one who was ready for a change of pace....

Of course, we'll be going back to dressage tomorrow, but it was a nice 'fun' day.

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