Saturday, June 2, 2018

Schooling with Excavators and Friends

Holy, hello June!

Once again, I am several ride recaps behind and will do my best to catch up and resume our regularly scheduled program!

Different kinds of horse power.
Following the clinic, I gave Annie a well-deserved day off before getting back to it. The communal riding arena was completed and an e-mail went out to the members of the grounds club, asking them to try out the arena to ensure the depth of the sand was adequate.

I went out with the intention of doing stretchy work in the new arena, wanting to ensure that I didn't overdo it following the last two hard rides.

When I showed up at the grounds I was frustrated to see the excavator was still working on the ring pounding posts in. I wandered both horses over (was ponying Spud) and saw they were only about half complete, so grumbled and debated to myself about what to do. Annie felt pretty good - she walked out excitedly when we had left the barn, but I attributed most of that due to the fact we hadn't hacked out around home in a week due to the clinic and prior days off.

The green space I typically ride in extends to the left, closer to the sea-cans.
I decided to take advantage of the green space in front of the ring and put Annie through her paces. We did variations of circles, serpentines, diagonals, and even some leg yielding. I was pleasantly surprised to have a supple, calm, and quiet mare beneath me. She struggled to pick up the correct lead in both directions, but it felt more like she was stiff or something, because she really was trying. I didn't feed into it - just gave her a jab with the heel and asked again.

We did a lot of simple changes and after a few successful ones in a row, I went back to working on big/small trotting like Anthony had directed back in the clinic. She moved out willingly and happily and I quit after getting some successful leg yielding at the trot. Even cooler, she barely even glanced over at the excavator that was pounding posts in and didn't even bat an eye when a semi pulled in with a long trailer (carrying more buckets). I was pretty pleased overall, and promised Annie some trail riding would be in her future since we had been schooling so much the past few weeks. Spud, however, misbehaved whilst being tied and reared a few times just to show me how pissed he was he wasn't anywhere close to the green grass blades. Sorry, dude.

It's the perfect schooling place. Truly.
Following the school at the grounds, I ended up wrangling myself into riding with two other ladies in the area. I typically don't ride with anyone other than N, and usually then it's only on the weekends (when she's home). One of my goals for the year was to embrace riding with others - not that I don't enjoy the company, but that my ride times don't ever line up with other people. For example, I prefer to ride mid-morning when I can, and especially with "working from home" for the last three weeks, I try to get my rides done in the morning hours. The other ladies who ride can't go at that time, because they actually have to go to their jobs (sad for them, I really am, haha).

Anyways, I went out early to do chores and once I got Annie ready, I let her graze until R texted me that they were ready. I bridled Annie up and hopped on - she was a little antsy to get going, but the severity of it has severely diminished, which I am happy about. As we rounded the corner A was walking down the driveway with her mare Lenaya and Annie just about slammed on the brakes! She's not used to seeing other horses except AJ and N, so it was a bit of a surprise (hence the reason I want to ride with other people!). R came out of her driveway with Colby and the three of us toodled our way to the grounds.

She blinked, but she's looking like a real horse now!!
The ride over is fuzzy for me, because I have so many other rides fresh in my mind, but I remember Annie was a bit spookier than normal. Lenaya spooks almost every ride, and it kinda fed down to the other horses. It wasn't unmanageable tho.

We decided to ride over to the fairgrounds, being that it was the evening and the grizzlies were back in the area and we felt it would be safer to stay to the well-traveled trails. Initially, when we arrived, I had intended to do a light school in the ring (now that it was free of equipment) but instead I ended up riding my horse the most out of the three of us! Which, wasn't hard given the fact the other two horses are quite out of shape.

At first, Annie was a bit skeptical of the ring because it didn't have all of it's rails attached and we also hadn't ridden in it in forever, haha. We did a lot of circling, especially because Annie decided she didn't want to leave her friends (she didn't pigroot, but she felt like she would float off towards either horse if given the chance).

Pretty lady <3
She worked out of it easily tho, and picked up her leads effortlessly and on the first try. I didn't push her past picking up each lead once - she felt super malleable and maneuverable in my hands. We alternated between slow/fast canter and did some slight leg yielding at the trot. It was a very low key ride for us, as I didn't want to do anything too crazy. We finished off with a nice stretchy trot - she is starting to learn that she can lower her poll but it takes some time for her to poke her nose out. We're working on it tho.

After that, we wandered out of the ring and took the long way back home. Before we parted ways, we stopped the horses just at the end of one of the streets we'd all branch off from and stood for several minutes just chatting and gossiping about small town drama. It was nice - the horses quietly stood as cars passed and although Annie was a little less than pleased to leave the other two horses behind to head home, she complied and eagerly snuffled at her mash once we got back to the barn.