I had the best ride yesterday, maybe one of our best ever. The energy and forward were there, but also quick responsiveness up AND down, and no attempts to rush. He was right there, listening, responding, trying, trying, trying to please. Do horses blow when they are happy with themselves? I have to wonder, because it seemed Rogo knew he was doing really well (I kept telling him he was) and when he'd finish something he finds a little more difficult, like a leg yield or 15 m canter circle he'd blow and blow with what seemed like pride in his accomplishment. Maybe I'm putting a human emotion on a horse? Sure seemed he was happy with his performance too though.
Since I started riding again (after only 2.5 weeks off!), my legs had been moving around terribly. Oh, it was awful. So discouraging. Maybe because of the big, big movement he's had since we're outside again, but I felt like it was my first time on a warm blood :( . Yesterday I took my stirrups up a notch. It felt awkward at first, but I stuck with it and guess what - my legs were much quieter. I better get back to the exercises I was doing in the saddle to lengthen and strengthen my legs.
This all relates of course to strength and flexibility and balance - the lack of which I wrote about in my last post. I got lots of moral support on that one, and learned a lesson - lots of barn chores and riding several horses a day counter-act this. Both Shannon at A Work In Progress and Grey Horse Matters remarked that back when they did this riding a big warm blood was no problem :) so I've been cleaning stalls like crazy (but haven't yet ridden Dan since he came home - guess I better).
One more note I want to remember - I hadn't been feeding Rogo any hay before riding him since I came home. The timing just worked out that way. Then a few days ago I was getting ready slowly, so gave him a flake of hay. He was as slow and lacking energy as he was in the small indoor. Yesterday as an experiment I gave him just part of a flake. He was the best yet. He was a little too forward to focus on work with no hay when tacking up, too lethargic with a flake, and just right with a small amount of hay. Maybe a coincidence but I'm going to continue to experiment. I know I sure don't feel like working when I have a full belly. We feed hay five times a day, in small quantities (a flake or two each), so they never get too much or go too long without, but maybe I need to be more careful with the timing related to riding.Our lessons with Joan start a week from today - Yeah! I have a week to get into shape. I'm going to review my equitation, warm up and test riding goals and synthesize things for a spring program over-seen by Joan.