What a mad hack!
Can't say I was too confident for this afternoon as Quadi was less than amenable once his tack was on. Perfect to tack and seemed happy about the whole process, but sluggier than a slug to come out of the stable, stand by the mounting block, etc. Never mind, I mounted up and he walked off the yard without any encouragement from me.
It became apparent almost immediately that I am squinter than when I left :( I couldn't get comfy at all. I'm not too worried, I will do my pilates ever day, I just couldn't find where I wanted to sit. The Fhoenix isn't helping of course. The saddle didn't arrive today so hopefully I can at least get to fit it tomorrow.
We rounded the first bend to find two neighbours shifting their ponies to another field. Quadi stopped. I relaxed my contact to the buckle (he rarely whips round these days so we can hack low and slow) and asked him on. Quadi took two steps, and stop. Repeat this, oh, about seven times. I started to feel irk rise in me but by the end was giggling hysterically at him. There was also a car up ahead and he just stood like a sentinel trying to ascertain whether all was safe. I knew he was going to be sticky somehow today. I hate to say it but some forecful leg aids and seat shovelling happened. Not exactly what I wanted to do but feeling so out of sorts in the saddle just wasn't helping. Anyway, we continued.
And trotted all along the track :) He was very 'looky' today and teleported sideways whilst giving several object the eye. But I don't mind this, he didn't lose forward momentum and I'll take that any day!
Actually, he was rather gung-ho from this point. Where I wanted to trot out of the forest, he spooked and slowed. Then he tried to trot all down the next path. I was naughty and gave in and let him out into a huge round trot, me giggling like a loon the whole time.
The next section of our hack was spent convincing Quadi that he needn't jog with his head in the air and soon we were back to the buckle and swinging out nicely. As we completed our loop we came across some kids playing on swings in their garden. Quadi and I stopped to wave whilst they strained through their fence to see The Pony! I was proud of him for not spooking at the kids on the swing, all you could see was a kids popping up in random time over the fence, like little meerkats!
A little further on we had another long trot and I got much more sense out of him, he relaxed into my hand. He had a little nap to go back into the forest but just as he took a step back and I thought I would have to whip him around and reverse a bit, he marched forwards. High praise for him!
He also jumped the first ditch after a quick little sniff to make sure it wasn't a chasm to the centre of the earth. The second one was trickier because the route which was narrower and more inviting had muddier footing, but the other side was much wider and too big a question for him. We settled on the muddy side and after 5 minutes he went over. Rather awkwardly I'm sorry to report, but we did it and he got a sweetie and was allowed to trot all the way up this much more open section of the forest. He blew very briefly once we reached the top but not very long after so I can only surmise that was just enough work for today. Not the most disciplined hack but lots of fun!
I hopped off a little before home to stretch my legs and let him walk out and warm down.
Here are a couple of cameraphone shots I took:
Something to the right of us?
My favourite view, he was very happy to be out!