Slowly but surely there are more days you can ride, than days you can't. Thank goodness. I'm working up a raging case of spring fever... things are greening up, my winter garden is finally producing and sleeves felt unnecessary for part of today. I even contemplated flip flops, then came to my senses ;)
Monday was super windy - blowing steady in the 30's by the time I got to the barn. For a little while I reconsidered riding. Really hated to have wasted the time and fuel to get there - so I decided to give it a go. The wind blows six out of seven days around here, so I need to learn to just deal with it. Fear is such an interesting emotion. My desire not to be wasteful eventually over-rode self preservation :)
We worked on the half halt. Specifically coordinating the half halt with posting, and keeping a quiet leg. I found it very challenging, and don't need video to know that I need a lot of practice. Even so we had some nice moments. Every ride Val is moving off of my leg a little more, and more responsively. My use of the whip is reserved for when we lug in the corners. I find I need to give that aid well in advance of the actual turn for it to be effective and avoid stalling out.
At one point, the tarp canopy over the front of Val's run-in flapped violently as we passed by and lifted up like a parachute. Val spooked - one of those crouching then sideways kind of spooks - which left some air between my butt and the saddle. I guess I was relaxed because it was no big deal. We both survived. :)
Tuesday was a day off, although I did get the chance to drag both of the arenas. A happy conjunction of the perfect amount of moisture in the sand + equipment functioning. As I was cleaning up the arena before I dragged it, Val suddenly charged from the far end, full speed galloping, veered towards me, and screeched lightly to a halt right at my feet. I don't know why, but I didn't flinch. It was an impressive maneuver lol.
We rode again yesterday, and this time our focus was on forward. I really wanted to try to get a big walk. I have noticed how nice of a walk we have achieved when Val was slow to respond to my request for the trot, so I drove until we just about trotted, (sometimes trotted), half halted, and praised, praised, praised the bigger walk. I aimed to be very clear about what I was asking for.
Next we tried for forward at the trot. I drove, drove, drove! Again, there were nice moments. It felt to me like I had Val reaching in the beginning of the transition, but only for several strides before we lost it. I'm guessing that I'm not sustaining the driving aid? We finished off with some beautiful 10m circles, which got the best reaching of the session, and a number of lovely rein backs. Perhaps my contact was better with the circles? Finished up with work on the buckle. Can't wait until I see my trainer again - miss you Erin!
Val got off property walks to indulge in grazing both days after our rides. He's becoming more comfortable every time. The death dealing trash can gauntlet is officially no big deal. We did some trot work on the pavement, to continue toughening up Val's feet. It must be working, as our farrier commented on how good his soles are looking today. And how well he behaved he is. He also mentioned how nicely Val is moving as I trotted him out after the trim. Floaty he said. Now if we could only do that under saddle ;)
Finally got time to work in the garden this afternoon, thinning the rows. This is the raised bed and deck I built with my dad. The soil is a combo of composted horse manure and composted eel grass (sea weed). I used some recycled widows to make a simple cold frame, which was enough to defy the ridiculous temperatures we've had this winter. Romaine, spinach, chard, mesclun, buttercrunch, arugula, bok choy, flat leaf parsley, and cilantro. Shared some of the thinnings and planning to eat the rest. Yum :)