One Ride, Three Stalls
I had to go to the tack store to buy a new water heater for the outdoor water trough. I had a submersible one that simply did not work any more--one year warranty and I think it lasted at least two years. My regular store did not have them so I traveled a bit further--just across a very little town--to the Agway and found exactly what I wanted. I also bought six bags of shavings there for the stalls. The Boys have been bedded with the old hay they didn't eat, but now that they are pretty much cleaning up every morsel, it's time to start adding some shavings to their stalls.
I needed to go to the supermarket as well on the way home to get some milk and a few things for the choir party next weekend. I lucked out as cat food was on sale so I got some of that too and then headed home.
I unloaded the car, had a bit of lunch, played on the computer for a while and then headed out to do barn chores.
I decided to give each stall an "almost" strip, getting rid of any suspicious old hay and then banking it to the sides so that when I put in the shavings they would tend to stay more towards the middle. The Agway bags are bigger than the ones from the other tack store, so I only put one bagful in each Boy's stall. I'll let that kind of fluff itself out and add as necessary. I don't tend to bed too deep as the Boys really don't spend a lot of time in their stalls. They have rubber mats as flooring too. If I am going to have to keep them in, then I bed with more but for now, this will do.
That done, I still had some knee energy left to ride.
Chance was "the horse of the day." And, he was due for a schooling session.
I have to admit, he did remember most of our last lesson, and was much better about reaching down for the bit. He still tries to drop my seat off to the right and then fall in to the left when he is on the left rein, so I concentrated on some exercises to correct that.
Essentially, on the left rein, I tried to ride him in a bit of shoulder fore with a little more flex to the inside and an attempt to push his body out to the outside, right rein. It's not easy and takes a combination of mental determination on my part, physical effort to push him over, and sheer concentration so I can feel every time my weight shifts even slightly to the wrong seatbone.
And, I have to fight the overwhelming urge to correct him with a left indirect rein in order to gain control of that left shoulder. I found that dropping my right hand out and down with good solid contact tended to help keep him from falling to the inside and my whip and leg applied (not hitting him with the whip, but kind of pushing with it) helped, but I had to ride nearly every stride to keep it. But we made progress as eventually, he started to go over to that outside rein a bit more on his own. Interestingly enough, because the canter is such a lateral gait, it was actually easier to make the corrections in canter than trot.
Then the brilliant idea struck me that perhaps some leg yields might help a bit. Well, much to my surprise, at the walk, Chance did two leg yields in each direction with no problem at all. They were not perfect, but the sideways steps were there and he moved obediently off my leg.
OK. I tried it at the trot. Leg yield to the left, no problem at all. Let yield to the right--moving sideways into that outside right rein...aha! A bit sticky and he "stalled" back down to a walk on the first try. So, I completed the pass at the walk, picked up the trot again and tried another. Not bad at all!! As soon as we finished the leg yield--center line to rail--I asked him to halt, gave him a ton of praise and dismounted.
Good boy and a job well done. And enough exercise for my knees for one day.