On A Midsummer Night
And itwasn't a dream, becuase I rode two horses as darkness drew in.
Totally lured in by Le Tour de France this morning, I spent my time after feeding the Boys watching the race. Mark Cavendish pulled one of his fabulous sprint finishes to win the stage. He was amazing last year in the race and left before the Tour was over to ready himself for the Olympics. He said this year that he regretted that decision, so he intends to finish the race this year. I think he is close to setting a record for sprint finish wins in the Tour, so I expect him to break that. Meanwhile, four Astana riders, Contador, Bloden, Leipheimer, and...shall I say it, Lance Armstrong are all contending in the top ten with only about 40 seconds spread from the top. Any one of the four is capable of winning the whole thing, so the team dynamics are going to be fascinating this time.
Well, that took up the cool of the morning, but frankly, it never did get really hot out. It was another lovely day like yesterday. I did a few chores, cut a weed down, then went food shopping as I was out of milk...ended up with about 7 bags of groceries. Who can pass up a sale on fresh red cherries or pasta or sweet corn at $1.99 a dozen...some for the Boys and some for me?
Came home, fed the Boys, ate my own dinner and then, eventually as it started to cool off I went out to ride.
Tucker first. Again the focus was "always forward." I did lots of changes of direction and changes of gait, trying to keep him paying attention. His half passes are improving, and, after again, some initial crabbiness, he is taking the canter aid more and more quickly. I worked the counter canter a bit as well, but I really had to ride the gait as he wants to break and change leads. I'm hoping that by establishing his counter lead with good forward impulsion, I will be able to develop the flying change as well. With Tucker, everything is as much a mental challenge as well as a physical one. I guess time will tell.
I rode Chance next with the notion that if he felt at all "off" on his right hind, I would just concentrate on the walk and his giving to the bit.
Well, after one little stumble on the first trot stride, he felt just fine. He was energetic, nice and forward, and even behind.
Getting him down and round it still difficult as he is very strong to the rein, especially on the right. I suspect that whatever the hind end issue is, it has made him less "through" on that side so it's become his stiff side. My fingers get sore playing the bit to work him down, but every once in a while he really "gets it," and feels wonderful. I also discovered that the sitting trot is far better for getting him round as he wants to lift his back under my seat to carry my weight. Again he took both canter leads just fine, but the right one is a little lazier.
I actually ended up riding Chance by moonlight--hence the title of my post. The moon is almost full and was about halfway up in the night sky as I finished up. But there was also the sound of booming fireworks somewhere off to the south/west so I thought perhaps it was time to dismount.
Chance didn't mind. He was quite happy to go inside to get his carrot.