So a few more days to round up materials and fence the beds. The materials were on order, but Bambi found the garden with one day to spare, and tasted a number of plants. It looks like everything will recover nicely, if just a bit misshapen. I wasn't able to find something to recycle for this purpose, but I did come across an inexpensive, flexible plastic fencing that should last, will be reusable and was relatively easy to install. Then I scrounged up some old fish net to drape over the beds when the birds come around to peck up my ripe tomatoes. They always know the peak of ripeness, as do the racoons.
We've gotten three rides in this week. Doing loads of trot work, and our stamina is increasing. Our balance through the corners is better. I'm getting some honest reaching for contact - usually right after the trot transition - although it's not sustained yet. I've become obsessed with both of us getting fitter, and specifically with Val's haunches filling out. I know that getting Val to work over his back, use his hind end and carry himself properly is the key to our dressage and fitness goals. I haven't pinpointed what I'm doing / not doing, but hope that when I can get us up to my trainer's farm for some lessons again she'll set me straight. I'm so looking forward to riding in a proper arena with good footing. Time to complain about my arena again... it's very deep sand at the moment due to lack of rain. I've been thinking that I want to start working on the canter, (which I can't believe I'm saying) but until the footing is more solid I don't want to try it at home.
Overall, things are going really well for us now. While our improvement isn't swift, it is happening consistently. What I am most pleased with is my partnership with Val. And we're becoming more adventurous - two jr. trail rides this week, after schooling in the unfenced arena. Six months ago I couldn't steer my way out of a paper bag. The thought of a dressage test was literally nauseating. Heck - the though of working outside the arena stressed me out. Now I can finally envision not only successfully completing a dressage test, but possibly showing. Horse shows are pretty impractical when you live in the middle of nowhere like we do, but with enough planning it could be done on the rare occasion. Something to look forward to :)
|View from the other arena|
|Cookie please - bring one for my friend here too....|
|That's right - it's bath time...|
|I love shiny things|