Three cheers for keeping up blogging momentum! Ideally I’d love for today’s post to be a recap of last night’s lesson, but considering how jam-packed my evenings are on lesson days, I’ll bump that post to Thursday. I had an uneventful and not-terribly-horsey weekend. Saturday my only barn interaction was chores (cleaning 13 stalls in raging heat and humidity, joy!). Sunday I had hopes of squeezing in a ride, but mowing and helping my mom with some of her farm to-do list took precedence.
Monday I was determined to ride, come hell or high water. Because I knew we would have a lesson Tuesday, I kept Ruby’s workout to a light lunge. Although she would regain her fitness much faster if I were a better and more committed owner (story of my life), I am happy with her progress. I really want to spend more time out hacking the hills and doing sets in the field, but it seems like when its dry I have too many things going on, and when I finally have the free time to devote to it, it’s too wet. Boo.
After a little bit of face-melting heat and a good hose-down for Ruby, I headed back to the house to tackle the big project for the day -- putting the 4th ride on my Cinnamonster. During my impromptu work session last week, she was pretty amped. Ruby and Mort (and Jacki!) being at the house was new and strange for her, and she was pretty obnoxious about standing in the cross-ties (which is something I’ve been working on with her). Last night when I pulled her out she was much better, even ignoring the boys calling to her. She tacked up like a champ and settled right into work, giving me good walk/trot/canter both directions on the lunge, and working on reinforcing the “whoa”.
After I was reasonably confident she had gotten out all her ya-yas, we headed over to the mounting block and I climbed on. She stood like a rock, sniffed my boot, and when I asked her to walk she headed right out to the rail. We worked on steering (about 50% installed) and stopping using a combination of voice and seat (with reins as an absolute last resort). That button needs some refinement, but overall she was really great. There were a few moments in the beginning where I was a little concerned the wheels were coming off and that impending disaster was looming, but she got her brain back in order and did her best to do what I was asking.
We successfully walked and trotted in both directions, including some attempts at circles -- she had some moments that were absolutely lovely and soft and felt great, and then your typical baby falling-apart-flailing. Regardless of what she was doing, I tried to focus on being soft, balanced and even, that way she could figure some things out on her own. Something I’m running into in my lessons with Ruby is that for too long I’ve been “helping” her and sometimes I just need to let her figure out how to balance herself, so I’m hoping to minimize those issues with Cinna, since she’s a blank slate.
I also got about 10 steps of left lead canter out of her and it absolutely thrilled me -- even being a gangly, gawky baby still trying to figure out how to navigate with an uncoordinated epileptic starfish on her back, it was still smooth as glass. We lapped the arena a few more times at the walk, and ended on a good note. After I untacked, we working on bathing (one of the gaps in her education, because I fail at life). After about 30 seconds of dancing (shorter time frame than her last bath!), she remembered that it felt GOOD (also, she got cookies if she stood still), so her majesty consented to be fully hosed down and hand grazed until it was time to be turned out for the night.
Hopefully once we get a few more rides under her belt I will be able to start taking her on some off-the-farm excursions. She’s still behind where I want her to be training-wise, but she’s maturing much more slowly than Topaz or Ruby did, so I think it was probably for the best. Now that I’m finally getting on her, her brain is much more engaged than it was even last summer when I gave her the first few “real” workouts. It might be too soon to make show plans, but my tentative goal is to have her ready for the WWU fall schooling show in November -- I think Intro A and B is a completely attainable goal, as long as I can keep fitting in a few work sessions ever week (not necessarily all riding).