So yesterday I found a new horse in the paddock with Moon and Curly-horse, and it seemed that Moon's girlfriend had been moved to a different group. The new horse was a small drafty-style pony, something like a haflinger? Blond, well-boned and compact. Thankfully below Moon in the pecking order and respectful to myself. I didn't see W around the barn yesterday so I couldn't learn more about the arrangement. I suspect that with 2 outdoor boarders, it wasn't a big deal to add another.
When I headed over this evening for another schooling ride as part of our renewed dedication to get in competition form, I managed to catch W who was starting a lesson. I discovered that the new fellow was "Jack" and he was part-haflinger! I knew it! All thanks to Shyloh, the most famous haflinger I know. Jack is there for W to break to ride, which is pretty exciting.
Moon continues to drive him around, though they're quite respectful. No biting or kicking yet. His girlfriend was moved, since she was going through her first heat cycle and Mr. Moon apparently wasn't overly impressed with her sudden clingy nature. Felt he should push her away : P Unfortunately, one of her new paddock mates was picking on her and she decided to jump the fence (she's successfully done it before). She made it over but took a bit of skin off her back legs. Poor girl.
So tonight. We walked and trotted and serpentined and he even offered a poor version of the turn-on-the-haunch. He was tired and slow, not wanting to move out a whole ton, though he had good contact and we even managed a pretty awesome stretching circle for us. The longer I rode though, the more tired he got and the slower he went. And the more thumping I had to do to keep him moving. Oye.
After W had finished her lesson and we were the only ones in the ring, I asked if she'd watch our canter circle. I felt like I was doing something wrong. Well, let me say when she said yes and settled down to watch, I suddenly got crazy nervous. If that's how I am with my COACH watching, what will I be like in a real competition with a JUDGE?!! : P
So we went for it. And got the wrong lead, falling out of the canter at the first corner. Boo.
W assured me that my position was fine and that he was actually really willing to transition to canter which was great. No hesitation or anything. She suggested I work on a trot circle spiraling out and then asking for canter when we got out to the edge. I sent Moon off and did just that. Guess what?
We did it. 1/2 a circle, solid. On the correct lead. W even said he did a good job rebalancing himself into the second turn and still had a nice easy depart. And my position was still fine!! Yippee!
She said we just need more practice in getting it right. Instead of working at doing lots of canter circles, work at doing lots of proper canter departs. And THAT is our next goal. She also explained to me that I probably feel like I'm positioned wrong when he counter canters because he forces my body to move opposite how I'd want in order to bend to the circle. So I'm trying to do one thing and he's making me do another, which feels wrong. If we get the correct lead, it'll feel right and I won't feel so wrong. Right? ; )
Next Wednesday, 7 pm. Back to lessons.
The funniest thing of the day? W was standing in the middle of the ring watching the student go-round. I was standing next to her on Moon, watching and staying out of the way. My favorite kitten suddenly decided to leap onto W's back and climb onto her shoulder to perch. So I started telling W how I had Mr. Kitten on Moon's back yesterday and their antics over the water trough, when suddenly...
The cat LEAPT onto Moon's face!!!! : O
Moon gave a small sideways leap and moved his hoof out of the way as the kitten fell to the sand. And thankfully stood stock-still until the kitten ran off (I was worried for a second he would step on the kitten since the kitten fell RIGHT beside his hoof). But nope. Moon froze after his initial start. Man I love this horse. How many horses would move no more then 6" after a cat leapt at their face?! And then stand stock still?!
Best pony ever. I put the kitten back on his back after untacking him and guess what? Moon whipped his braided tail around and smacked the cat with it : P What a pair.
That was today. I'm going to call today a good day. Especially after our proper canter circle when W looked up at me and said "I think you guys should go Training Level in June. One Walk-Trot show should be enough with how your canter is looking".
Say WHAT?! : O
Today is full of surprises.