The ring was dry enough today that Doug raked it and I had a short training session with Rogo, probably only about twenty minutes. I kept it short because although the footing was okay, it was still a little wet and also except for the one walk around the pasture this was our first ride in about two and a half weeks.
I'm so happy to be able to ride in our ring already. We had in-ground drainage installed last spring and it made a huge difference. It dries much faster now.
I tried to be intentional in our training session, while recognizing w/he'd be a little stiff. We started with walking - forward, marching, bending in and out, small circles with good rhythm, and keeping a good contact. He pretty much had contact nailed at the walk before the break, but he wanted to put his head up a few times today. Maybe because there's more to look at outside :).
We trotted after that, starting with circles and then going large. He was quite forward today, so circles helped me to gauge when to do the long side. The time off and being outside have really been a benefit to his energy and forwardness.
After trot circles we did canter circles and then crossed the diagonal and transitioned to trot. The canter was lovely - he had lots of energy but responded nicely to aids.
He was a little stiff throughout and thus our figures weren't perfect, but he was bending and giving me good tries. I didn't do any leg yield or shoulder in, but we did a little shoulder fore each way and that was fine.
What I'm happiest about? Two things:
- There were things he did easily last fall that proved a challenge over the winter in the small indoor, and they instantly came back. Phew. For example canter circles and crossing the diagonal in the canter grew challenging at times over the winter and were a non issue today.
- That although he was understandably 'up' he also behaved perfectly, without lunging and was a joy to ride. That was the best part!
A couple of cute Rogo stories:
- He's figured out that I give him a treat when he does his left / right bends (previous videos), so now he starts doing the bending to ask for something. He wanted out of his stall today, so he went to his door and started turning his head back to his side and holding it there. I hope I haven't created a monster.
- Once I was on him, I realized I'd forgotten to shut a gate and it was standing open in the way of riding. I thought I'd try a little trail class trick and go over and maneuver us into position for me to close it, to save getting off. I got us in position, pushed the gate and made some headway a couple of times, but it was dragging on the ground. While I paused to try to figure out what to do, Rogo turned into it, put his nose against it and pushed it about 18 inches. I thought it was just a fluke, but then he pressed his nose into it again and closed it the rest of the way. How smart is that :). I love my sweet boy.
We've been looking at potential land for the horse business. It's fun. We have another appointment in the morning.