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Saturday I took the day off to go hiking with WBBF and Daisy A Dog, given that it was probably our last opportunity to really get out for a while.  So Sunday I was happy to go out to the barn in just a polo shirt and rain coat, knowing I’d be able to ride in just the polo.  I was a bit apprehensive pulling in the driveway, because the horses were all out, and given the temperatures, understandably naked.  And in the case of the pasture of geldings I passed, caked in mud. Uh oh.

Cally, however, is not like that.  I should have known better than to worry, because when I went out to the field to get her, I found her looking pristine and unhappy with the muddy conditions.

So we slogged back in, where to reward her cleanliness, there were carrots waiting.  Enormous carrots, from the Local Market, which delighted her greatly, and apparently put her in a good mood for our ride.

Because of the way jumps were set, there was only one clear diagonal in the ring, so we couldn’t really work on the First Level test the way I’d planned to.  Plus there were pigeons and rain and wind, which was all a little distracting, though she was very good about it all.  I think it was the carrot.

So we worked on the exercise we didn’t get to complete in our lesson a while back, with the beginnings of a canter serpentine/countercanter loop.  There was plenty of room for that, and we had the ring to ourselves.  I started off on the left lead, which is generally her better direction, and the first pass through the loop was a little “Um, human, where are we going?” but the second time through it felt good.  Maybe not as smoothly curved as it could have been, but steady and balanced.  To the right it wasn’t as balanced, but at least felt steady.  Since she was obviously being good, I decided to punish myself a bit by working on sitting trot.  I can do it well enough when we slow down a smidge, like you do in hunters and equitation, which makes sense, since that’s what I learned to do.  It’s sitting that bigger, more working trot that’s hard for me.  I started off with what I can do, and did a bit of that tight serpentine exercise at a sitting trot, since you have to go a bit slower by necessity, and the exercise itself gets the horse carrying itself well, which on Cally means comfortable to sit.  After that was feeling good, I asked for a few 20 meter circles at each end of the ring.  That felt OK, but not as easy for me as the serpentine; it’s when I asked for a nice straight trot down the long side that it gets really difficult, and she gets the nice big forward step I want, but I bounce and sit crooked and we end up looking like drunken sailors.

Sitting trot: still a work in progress.  But improving, and is a great winter project to improve my riding.  She felt great though, so I’m happy to let her have a light week for the holidays next week, since I’ll only be able to ride on Thursday.

Happy holidays, everyone!