Chance in Need of Remedial Work
The footing was good despite the fact that it hardly got above freezing today. The paddocks and pasture did not turn to mud, so I left all three Boys to roam about as they wanted.
When I went out later to clean the stalls, they were out in the pasture just kind of hanging out. There is some loose hay there and they were nibbling at will. I always like seeing the Boys with something to eat, especially in the winter. If I could put out one of those big round bales, I might do it, but I am not sure of the logistics. With the mud I'm not sure a truck could get in there and a bale like that would be too big to move with my tractor--I think. I'm also not sure of the cost, but it's something to think about.
Toby was being very social but when he saw the halter and lead rope, he walked off, making it clear that while he did like my company, he had no interest in being ridden or worked. I tend to indulge him as he is essentially retired. I do like to keep him marginally fit, however as he is sound and healthy and is better off having a little exercise. If I do need him for something more strenuous, I spend 2-3 weeks preparing him with regular work. So far, it's been fine, but I don't think erratic legging up is the best thing for a horse. However since he has a long and extensive background of being super fit as an upper level dressage horse, I figure his physical body is in pretty good shape overall for an older horse.
That left me to choose Chance as my mount for the day. I brought him in, gave the other two Boys some alfalfa cubes to keep them happy and occupied and saddled Chance up.
We worked in the arena for perhaps 15 minutes or so. It is pretty clear that he is not really trained yet to go down and round. Although he will work down on to the bit with a lot of effort on my part, he doesn't yet do it naturally, nor does he stay there without a constant reminder. So we will have to do some remedial schooling over the next few weeks, weather permitting.
It's Ok, though, because I know it's not going to take a lot of time and effort to get him consistent. He has nice gaits and I was quite pleased that his right lead canter has relaxed a lot. He used to feel is if he was losing his balance and needed to be quick, but now he no longer rushes. The left lead is sitll more relaxed, but it's getting close to being a match.
Once we'd had a nice school, I took him out for a short ride in the woods. He was lovely, as he usually is. We did have to be careful, though as a lot of the top surface of soil under the leaves was still thawed over top of harder, frozen ground underneath making some slippery spots. We slid a little going down one little hill, so big deal, but it was a wake up call for us both. We moved a lot more carefully after that.
So, all in all, another nice day here at Follywoods. One horse a day is enough for now and may be enough for most days. It's nice and relaxing for us all.