"A good friend once told me that she felt that working with horses is like being on a long trip. It's a journey with no destination -- an unending process -- and everything that is important is 'as you go,' not when you 'get there.'" -- Mark Rashid
This past weekend was GORGEOUS here in Maine! It was in the 70s which is crazy for March! The snow is pretty much gone, except a few areas in the woods and near the house/barn that gets very little sun.
I rode Dreamy three times last week, two of which we did dressage work in the field and one day on the trails. She was great, except we seem to have lost the right lead canter yet again. I am going to chalk it up to her lack of fitness, but it sure is frustrating. She can pick up the lead but cannot seem to maintain a canter. :( Rather than push her to the point where she is frustrated (and right she would be because she just cannot do it...) I just ask for a few canter steps, back to trot, then canter again. On a much better note, her left lead canter is pretty darned great. So I guess you cannot win them all. I am hoping as her fitness level increases and I am able to begin lessons again, we will sort this out. I REALLY want BOTH leads figured out this year. (Yes, I keep thinking of the quote I put at the top...but I STILL really think it is time for our right lead to be as good as the left!) And come to think of it, she is barefoot still. She gets shoes the first week of April, so that will help as well. She does seem to like the traction of shoes despite the fact that I like the idea of her staying barefoot.
Our dressage work at this point is pretty basic, just focused on balance and rhythm. I try to limit the bending and lateral work for now, and focus more on transitions and steadiness. Our hack on Sunday went well, as she is no longer a fire breathing dragon (well, as much as Dreamy can be.....LOL) because we have been out on the trails a few times now this spring. So far, I am pleased with where she is (well, besides the right canter....grrrr...) and how our conditioning is going.
Reva was very good this past weekend. Right now I am only able to ride her on the weekends, which is not ideal but better than nothing. Things will get easier as the spring unfolds and we get into a routine. I am only riding her for 20-25 minutes, with much of the work at the walk. No more cantering for now. ;-D
We did a lot of bending and lateral flexion at the walk, and she is doing quite well. She seems to bend easier to the left than right. Reva is surprisingly willing to accept the bit, which is great. We did some trot work, with some trot/walk/trot transitions. So far, she is pretty balanced and responds easily to the bit and my weight. I hope her good attitude about work continues even as later on she learns "harder" things. I am wondering what her frustration level will be like.....so far everything has seemed "easy" to her.
She did have her first spook EVER under saddle on Saturday! LOL! It was a bit windy and the leaves were making big tornadoes....usually this is a non-issue to Reva. But at one point after we had trotted, she jumped sideways and hopped maybe two strides before coming to a dead stop. She craned her head around to look right at me, as if to say, "WHAT happened, Mom?" I reassured her and gave her a good pat. :) It was funny because it was so unlike her and only lasted maybe 2 seconds. So, yeah, the first spook under saddle was pretty mild, to say the least! LOL! Such a good girl.
Sparky is doing well.....I would feel as though I was forgetting someone if I left her out! :) No conditioning rides for her. I do hope to ride her a little this summer, maybe hook her a few times to the carriage, but she seems pretty content to be retired and just be groomed. Her weight and attitude are outstanding for her age (27 years young!). She seems to really like Reva and they will stand as close to their fence as possible to be with each other. Reva does like to engage in "face biting play" (which would be halter tag if they wore halters in turnout...LOL) and both Sparky and Dreamy will put up with it for a while, but then take a step back from the fence. It is quite funny. I have considered just opening up the back paddock to allow Sparky and Reva to hang out together, but I don't know. I get the feeling Sparky enjoys having her own space; while she can be near Reva, she can also move away if she wants to be alone. I might consider trying them together at some point just to see. But I am guessing Sparky might like to be alone at times....and at 27 years old, I never want her to feel pushed or rushed by a younger horse. Reva is pretty easygoing, but she is much younger. And she likes to buck and play much more than Sparky.....while Sparky will buck and play once or twice with her, she then will stop and watch Reva carry on.
Today it was spitting snow and it is supposed to be down into the 30s on Friday. Ahhh, the joys of living in Maine..... ;-D