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Today the barn seemed rather deserted as I was getting ready, so I planned to do some basic flatwork, even though I was riding in jumping tack, because while I’m OK jumping on my own, “own my own” and “with no one around” are very different things.  We started off with a lot of walking, progressing from a long loopy rein and forward walk to picking up a bit more collection and working on bend and flexion, doing some shoulder-ins and shoulder-outs along the long sides, and even a few turns on the forehand.  Her hind legs were really stepping up and under before we picked up the trot, which felt great.

As we were trotting around, going through some of the similar exercises (excepting TOF, obviously), Sheri came in to set up a groundpole grid for a lesson later in the afternoon.  I used a few single poles she had set at right angles to the line as spares, incorporating them into our circles.  Then she mentioned that if she didn’t have another commitment, she’d have us guinea-pig the settings on the line’s distances.  I offered to just go through a few times with the groundpoles, since Cally’s usually pretty good about figuring things out, and it was just poles, so I wasn’t too worried.  It was a pole to a 1-bounce-bounce-1.  Trotting in, I had to push to the canter between the first “fence” and the bounces, but we got through fine, mostly because she hops over poles anyway, rather than just stepping like a normal horse.  We went through again, much nicer, and called it good on the settings on the poles.

I did a little canter work after that, going back to passing over the poles set at a right angle to the grid as part of our circles.  We actually ended with a really lovely balanced circle over it and went back to doing some walk circles between the poles and right-angled poles.  The turns were tight enough that she really had to bend through her body and shoulders to turn, which was great, and it took a few times until it sunk in, but it worked nicely as both an exercise and a bit of walking to cool down with. 

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