This time last week I was blogging about how I'd been soaked through to my knickers in a hail storm...thankfully this Sunday the weather was far kinder and undergarmentals remained dry! Although the air temperatures could only have been in the high end of single figures, there was no wind and plenty of sun, so it was plenty toasty.
I rode Quadi with just a cotton numnah under his saddle. I noticed, once on board and securing the girth, that although he'd put on a bit of weight at his last weight-taping, his girth is no more snug. This goes hand-in-hand with his saddle fitting better without the need for pads or shims, rather than getting fat he's broadened over his back and wither. I could really feel his hind legs and hips pinging my hips with each stride as we set out. I also booted him, he's still feeling his frogs a little. The central sulcus of both fronts is still a little deep and contracted, so pony trainers are necessary for outings.
From the off I asked him to walk smartly without gawking or stargazing. Kate had ridden him yesterday and the effects of that were apparent, he was completely ready for work and I made little effort in my aids for forwards, soft and level. A small part of that was Kate's advice from last weekend to be more effective with my leg aids, but a whacking huge part of it was down to her riding and 'fine tuning' of my horse from the day before! I was most pleased, and grateful, as this proves how much I have to learn and improve, my horse is plenty capable :)
On the road out I could pretty much maintain this softness in hand the whole way, using my legs as I vibrated the reins (I was re-reading Heather Moffett's 'Enlightened Equitation' book tonight and she describes this like squeezing water out of a sponge, I like that a lot). He was a little head-tossy/snatchy out of the driveway, and I wonder if I ought to put the nosenet back on? He wasn't like that for Kate yesterday, but I'm not sure I was doing anything to prompt this, so I can only assume the cause is something environmental?
Also, because our normally-dependable lead pony Fin has a wee issue with passing a particular house...when he stopped, we stopped. It's just such a pain that I can't ask Quadi to take the lead in these situations! Well, I can ask, and I do ask, but by this point Drama Llama takes over and we grow roots, the farthest we can ever proceed is to Fin's shoulder *lol*
I gave him plenty of stretch breaks and played a little with some slowed lateral work, as he is prone to rushing through without bending otherwise. On the way home I could feel him tire mentally which resulted in some restless head carriage, but nothing horrid and by the time we were nearly home he'd settled down. I rewarded him with free reins along the driveway and loosened his girth, and we sauntered up the road :)
I did come home with a sore right knee, in an effort to keep him straight past the spooky house I fear I've been too crude and tense and hurt myself. I merely had my leg placed along his side but I was trying to tie myself in a knot, somehow thinking this was an effective means of aiding my horse. Lesson learned!
I'm glad he was such a good boy today and that we had such a pleasant and productive hack, it'll have to tide me over until I return from work in December!