After our first lesson on Monday, I scheduled a second lesson with Heather for today. Driving home from work at 6:30AM, the forecasted “snow flurries” looked more like a blizzard, and I wasn’t feeling too hopeful. But when I woke up at 10AM, it seemed like there hadn’t been any further snowfall, so I bundled up against the below freezing temps, and headed out to the barn.
Cally was having a grand time in the snow! When I went out to get her from her field, she and both her pasturemates, rather than being parked at the roundbale like they usually are, were having fun cantering around in the snow, bucking and carrying on. There are few things prettier than that to watch!
She warmed up much better than on Monday–apparently she got all her yahoos out in the field! The ring was a little loud, with the wind rattling across the roof and sliding windows, but other than the far corner, it didn’t seem to phase her. Still not as soft and supple as we can be, but definitely better, so I think our back-to-basics suppling school on Tuesday was helpful.
During the lesson, we worked on making things easy and routine for her. We started with a set of trot poles, just trotting through 3, a few steps, then three more, then halting, until neither the poles nor the halt were a big deal. Then the second set of poles was changed into an X with a landing rail, and again we went through and halted, until it was no big deal. Poles were added after the X, in 9′ increments, so that she was forced to land and canter away quietly through what would eventually be a 4 stride line. Every-other pole eventually was put up to a small (2′) fence, and we went through until it was happening quietly. I’m sure no one who’s watched me ride would be astonished to learn that when I keep my shoulders back and don’t lay on her neck, she stays quieter down the line!
After going down the line of fences quietly a couple times, Heather started pulling pieces of the middle of the line away, so that ended by quietly cantering four strides from an X to a vertical, and halting quietly. The last time through, the jumps were quiet, the canter after was quiet, and the halt was remarkably free of dramatics for being directly in front of a very rattley door.
I think we’re getting our groove back over fences, so I’m eyeing the Derby at Loch Moy in March as our first Eventing type outing of the season. I just need to figure out whether we want to step back to Elementary, or go out at BN. The height isn’t a big deal for her, and we did do a jumper show at that level in December, so I’m leaning that way.