That's despite being the early bird today. I was up at the yard just after 8am to two very keen faces over the gate :) I decided to ride Fin first since riding him second meant he'd already have been in on his own and wouldn't have been able to be still for one second. Quadi's a little better at being in on his own, he knows we always come home to him.
Once Fin was tacked up I opened the barn door...to a horizontal blizzard :o Decided to mount up anyway :D The snow was stinging my face!
We started off so well, he was relaxed and keen, and I could feel him really swinging which meant I could concentrate on my seat. Sadly our ride went vastly downhill when we got into the forest and approached a little mini-burn to cross. Mr Fin decided it was wholly dangerous for me to even ask him to cross it. I knew he had an issue here and hadn't set out with a firm plan to cross no matter what. But he made a very big deal about it before we'd even arrived at the water's edge. I think I'd have gotten him over with consistent ask-and-release, as we were starting to get closer and closer. As it happens a dog walker appeared. Their black lab made a bold leap over, and so did we!
Great thinks me, forgetting there was another of those little rivers just further in. Fin was quite happy to jig and protest to the point where he was losing his legs from under himself. So I got off and led the way. I leapt, and so did he. I'd had my fill by this point, as I was trying to mount up from the ground. In too-tight ski trousers and my rather wieldy Muck Boots! To raise the odds of me ever getting back in the saddle, I tried to stand on a rock to gain a little loft. Worked the second time, since the first attempt saw Fin move, me slipping and then cursing copiously. Ne'er mind, onward and upward. We made it out of the forest onto the loop by the ruin, and had a canter. Fin gave me a couple of bucks, no doubt for being so rude as to make him ford a teeny brook twice, mounting from the ground and swearing like a sailor...
He was a bit jiggy on the way home. I wasn't able to 'unlock' him, I did check myself every so often with a deep breath but can't say I was feeling particularly tense. I must have been. I walked him home on the buckle of the reins but he was short. Not as swinging as when we left the yard.
Although I was feeling my joints somewhat I tacked up Quadi. He stood to mount up, sadly not for girth-tightening but beggars can't be choosers. AND, he marched off the yard and up the track, I think that's our my first solo hack in his saddle! I'm obviously in a bit of a rut right now, I felt the best thing for us both was to ride him on a loose rein and let him stretch out to relax. Which he did beautifully. His walk is huge, and he was making efforts to lift his back even though I wasn't asking. Not all the time, and I always scare him away because as soon as I feel his back lift I tense. It's just marginal excitement on my part because I'm happy he's lifting his back. Must stay calm!
We also rode around the loop, past the scary water container without stopping. In fact, although he had a few moments where he stopped to check the horizon, every time I asked him to walk on he saw this to be a reasonable request and moved off. Seems like he's growing in confidence, I'm happy.
I let him have a cheeky canter despite not being fit or sensible enough. I'm glad I adopted a 2 point seat because he put in a handstand, if my bum had been in the saddle I'd have done my impression of a dart out the front door straight into the snow. I'm wary of the fact that bucking was an indicator of his kissing spine. He doesn't buck in the school so it's just a thought at the dusty aft of my mind.
Likewise he was a little jiggy going home but relaxed once out of the forest. I got off a little way back from the yard and walked him back. I like to loosen his girth and walk the last bit home. Good for us both I think ;)
I have a headache today so I'm guessing I'm carrying tension. I had planned to work at least one of them tomorrow night but I don't suppose that'll happen. Might Equissage them both instead, and my neck if I can bend my arm around that way.
Tomorrow's another day :)