The weekend is winding down. Virginia has finally received some much-needed rain and the grass in the paddocks is attempting to make a late summer comeback. The horses are very busy trying to eat the green shoots as soon as they emerge; we give them hay, but you can tell that they believe that fresh grass is so much better. Can you blame them?
When I arrived at the barn on Saturday, there was a smattering of raindrops on my windshield. It was my hope that I would get my ride in before the rain began in earnest. Ha! What is it they say about the best laid plans? Wouldn’t you know that as soon as I swung my leg over Ike that the rain became more steady. Well I was already in the saddle, so we continued on for as long as I could see through my glasses. The high point of the rain was that it kept the wicked horse flies away – there was much rejoicing on my part as well as Ike’s. The rain also seemed to encourage Ike to keep his head down and steady. We quickly worked through walk, trot, and canter. Played a bit with leg yield. Ike has a loooong back, so I find that my whip is a necessary tool while teaching the lateral movements. My leg is a decent length, but sometimes not long enough to speak effectively to the hind end. I’m finding that I have to use my whip judiciously or Ike’s response is a tad more than I expect or want. After 30 minutes we threw in the towel. No need to rinse the sweat off Ike, the rain already took care of that chore.
No rain while I rode this morning, but Ike and I were wet none-the-less due to the nearly 100% humidity. I was the first one to use the arena after the rain, so it was a great opportunity to work on straight lines, circles and square turns. We worked at the walk and trot since the footing was slick – why take a chance when there really isn’t a pressing reason to do so? We are straighter than we used to be but you can still see where we fall to the right just before we turn left…#&$#%, hmm, the rider still needs to gain control of that outside shoulder…I bet a half halt would help that. I bet if I did half halt, it would be a bit too late and we’d still manage to fall right. Grr…one of these days I will master the half halt and escape half halt hell or hopefully at least end up in purgatory.