It's cold outside. -24 degrees F, or -31 degrees C. Either way you look at it, it's cold out there. People are already plugging their cars in (I've a new battery with a bazzillion cold cranking amps, so I'm not bothering yet ; ) ), and the command-start is making me feel a little spoiled. Like this evening when I hopped in my pre-heated car and headed out to visit my buddy.
When I walked him through the large door into the barn, he headed RIGHT to his stall door and stuck his head over, almost like he was saying "Can I go in here and warm up? Pease?"
Poor guy. It made me kinda sad, 'cause I hate him being cold and wanting to be inside. Especially after his spoiling last month. Was that really the first time he spent the cool nights curled up in his own little personal space on a fluffy bed of straw? I truly wish I could give him that every night...makes me feel kinda crummy. Which is silly since he used to be out all winter, pushed out of the shelter and with no blanket. Just his warm fuzzies to keep him warm. He hasn't got it so bad now, no he hasn't.
Regardless, the barn was nice and warm, so it didn't take long for him to start thawing out. His whiskers were icicles and he didn't seem very happy with the cold metal of his halter against his cheeks. Poor fellow. But quickly he was standing in a little puddle of water and happily enjoying the warmth and the grooming that came with it. I'm certain that my new blanket liner will arrive just in time (picking it up next Monday), and he'll need it during the DAY by January for sure!
Just as I was starting to tack him up, W's dad came in and told me not to put him outside when I was done. Say what?
Well, they just can't bare to leave the guys outside when it's that cold, so Mr. Moon and Curly-Horse each had a stall for the night. And apparently were in for the night last night too. AWWWW! It's things like that which make me rethink my earlier "I want my pony at home". Granted, I'll always wish he was in my backyard (some of you are so incredibly lucky; please don't EVER take that for granted, even when you're throwing hay on the cold nights or building smudges on the hot ones). But it's nice to know that there's people caring and loving him. Sure, blankets will be beaten up, but it's a small price in exchange for my buddy's warm night's sleep. : ) Thanks W and W's dad and mom. : )
Of course, W's dad lavished Moon with some more praises. Apparently he needs to give lessons to the other horses in stall keeping, since he's the perfect tidy horse in his stall. : ) One more reason why it'll be great when he's at home. Easy keeper.
Out in the arena he felt wonderful. It's amazing when you get back on your horse after a week off. I could tell how much he's changed since I got him. Even more since when we started lessons with W. Even the way he LOOKS when I'm riding him; his stronger neck and movement.
I did some AMAZING sitting trot going STRAIGHT down the centre of the arena! omg, too wonderful. I felt like a professional (okay, it wasn't NEARLY that good, but for us, it was spectacular). I wasn't even bouncing everywhere and when I neared where I wanted to halt, we sunk into a beautiful halt, with just one back hoof out of place. Score.
Our sitting trot circles to the right were great, but to the left he was noticable stiff. Err. We practiced and warmed up and transitioned. Finally I worked on our extended trot...which led to Canter! I'm not sure who suggested it (sorry, I'm too lazy to look back in the comments, but you know who you are, and yes, I was listening to you!), but it worked. GRANTED, unfortunately he just couldn't keep it together for the turn. Even for a stride. Boourns. But we'll figure it out. That we will.
Then I figured, let's jump.
Setup a cross rail, higher on the edges then we've done since moving to W's. And had an interesting discovery, which all of you must already know.
DRIVE. Apparently your horse won't actually jump if you let him slow to a crawl on the approach to the jump. And then will just sort of smack into it and stumble over. Huh. You don't say (yes, stop laughing, I AM this clueless sometimes!).
So I started driving him when he would slow on the approach and voila, JUMP!
Second lesson learned. Don't jump with your stirrups set for dressage work. He WAY over jumped it twice and I had zero support since my legs were too long. Thankfully I kept my hands out of the way from bashing his mouth and he landed nicely and slowed right away. Hmmmm...noted for next time.
So after a couple of passes over the jump and him not whaleping...waleping...okay, I can't figure out the spelling on that one...whacking himself on the poles, I decided to call it an end to our ride. He'd done well and I was proud of him.
And not following my own advice, I got out the lunge line and practiced that : P
Going right he did great, going left he was confused. Or maybe that was the earlier stiffness still in effect?? I DID ask him for an extended trot and he gave it to me...but on the circle would not transition to a canter. oye.
What did I do next? Lunged him over the jump for the first time. : P
I love that horse. He gave it some funny eyes and then popped over on the lunge line! Awww! The second time, guess who forgot to drive him forward to it? And guess who then decided that they'd stop and just kick at it with their front hooves while standing still? Moon, that's who. So I got in front of the jump and led him over it. My bad.
Finished with a nice trot circle and a couple steps of walk. All done. Really. I promise this time.
And after a quick grooming he was in his warm stall, lapping his treats from his bucket and searching for leftover hay. I think I left a very happy horse tonight, which makes me very happy too. Can't wait to see him again tomorrow : )