This weekend is about the most perfect riding weather I’ve seen in Maryland in a long time. Blue, clear skies, sun, but moderate temperatures and downright cool in the shade. It figures that life got in the way again for me yesterday – I had planned on riding Mikey Saturday and having our volunteer take him for a trail mosey today, but I had to get my car fixed yesterday… so I ended up riding today instead.
Not that all that stuff matters much 🙂 In any case, we tacked up (me with a safety vest – probably looked pretty silly but I’m awfully paranoid right now, and I think not only does the vest keep me a bit safer, it also gives me a little mental confidence too, so on it goes 🙂
Since I had taken a deep breath since my last ride, and itemized all the things that went conspired against me, I wasn’t too worried about any repeats, and fortunately I was proven right. Mike was happy to walk quietly, stopped immediately when I asked him to (AND in a straight line, which is something up till now he’s been a little challenged with). I rode with a little more contact than normal (“for direction” as Allie would say!) and found him absolutely delightful.
There were a bunch of trot poles set up around the ring from a previous lesson, so we used those to make the ride more interesting and fun (as well as working his abs and hind end). Mike had to lurch over them a few times in somewhat un-graceful fashion but when he figured it out he almost became eager, and was looking around the ring for the next set as soon as he was done with the last one.
His canter still needs some work – when I asked him to canter he tried to run into it, so I had to correct him a few times. Once we got going he felt great, and we cantered a few circles in both directions, on the correct lead every time. I found him fizzling a little bit after we’d done a circle – when we left the circle to canter down the long side of the ring, I had to really keep my leg on to keep him in the canter. It’s sort of the opposite of what was happening before (he would canter straight, but then had a lot more trouble when asked to turn or circle).
On the physical side of things, his feet are looking positively beautiful. Our magic farrier trimmed him last Thursday, and I could definitely tell the difference while riding. He felt much sounder than he’s ever felt before, even in the not-so-great footing of our small outdoor. He also seemed much more comfortable on the gravel driveway, not pulling me over to the grass as usual. His back end seems to be stronger as well, so I will be looking at getting some lessons with him in the coming weeks instead of just poking around. He’s physically at the point where he’s up for it, plus – he actually has the capacity to be pretty fancy. 🙂