A Very Windy Day
There is a cold front coming in and the weather was very fickle all day.
I tried to ride Chance first, and when we started off it was OK, but then the wind kicked up really powerfully and Chance started getting chancy as a safe ride. The most unnerving thing he does is throw his head up to try to bolt off. I really hate that feeling. Once a horse's head is up in the air, you are at his mercy if he doesn't react properly to the bit. The scariest thing is that in an effort to control him, if you use your hand too much he might rear which is my LEAST favorite movement.
After two little boltoffs--nothing too dramatic, but just unsettling, I decided to get off and long line him instead. I tied the stirrups together with some baling twine under his belly and used them as the rings for the driving lines.
Chance was a little goofy still, but he quickly settled down and gave me some really nice lining work. This included three nice canter departs on the right lead with very little persuasion on my part. The left lead was fine too, as is usually is, and he was nicely forward in the trot. So, in the end he had a nice little schooling session and I felt safe.
Tucker has never been much of a problem in the wind so I rode him. He did give me one little scoot, but it was nothing. He started off an slow motion, walking in a short, hesitant walk. And he was looking at things along the woods side of the arena, including some poles I had moved over there. He did trot right off, but that too lacked an real forwardness, so I picked up a canter and got him moving.
I don't know if he was muscularly tight, or mentally tight, but the cantering did the trick. Soon we were in much better form. I did a lot of repeated lead changes through one stride of trot, thinking again of the prep work for the flying change. Then I did some shoulder in at the trot and moved that into half pass--not bad. I've added walk pirouettes to the repertoire and today did an exercise from one of the FEI tests: cross the center line, pirouette left, cross the centerline, pirouette right, then upon crossing the centerline, canter. It wasn't perfect, but he got it.
I attempted some half pass at the canter with fair success going left and much better results going right. Then, I decided to test the reinbacks again. Lovely. To top them off, after the third one, I asked for Tuck to canter immediately and when he did, I called it a day, let him trot on a long rein and gave him a nice cuddle for being such a good boy.
Toby was quite willing to be caught and did a nice little riding session in the arena. I played with the three tempis and the two tempis at the end. The were far from collected--more of a medium canter--but the timing was just right, so an instant later, Toby was also trotting on the long rein. Then we went out into the woods for a short hack.
Lucky timing on that one. Had I gone out two minutes earlier, we would have run into a pack of ATV'ers ripping through the trail I was planning on taking. Fortunately, they disappeared over the horizon before I was onto the end of that path and I don't think Toby really noticed them. Good thing, because they do upset him, and he can become very dangerous when riled. He has an even more athletic buck than Tucker does with a wicked back twist and when he becomes unhinged, it's not pretty.
We ended up having a nice quiet ride, so all was well.
I have swtiched all of the Boys into their winter blankets again, anticipating the single digit temps tonight. As I was swapping them, it started snowing like crazy. Now the sun is back out, and I'd wager it's warm again.
I am feeding them nice warm mashes at late feed. I don't know if they appreciate the warm food, but it definitely makes me feel better when it's suddenly cold again.