I gathered Ransom & dressed him up dressage after work. We found arena fence down & damaged, but the front 2/3 very dry for work. The weather was awesome. 70s, light humidity, easy breeze. He free lunged warmup real nice, dropping his head in the canter, stretching.
I hopped on, and we enjoyed nearly 35 minutes of hard work, with some good walk breaks in the midst. In the walks, I did side passes, turns on the haunches, but the turns on the forehand were, stickie? Yeah, that's a nice way to say "he didn't want to",, yup, stickie. The sidepassing was a complete accident, but when I figured out he knew how, I worked it both directions. We also did a bit of leg yielding at the walk, and a bit at trot. Heading left, the leg yields are almost easy. Heading right, well, not so much. He's stubborn, but eventually gets it. I'm looking forward to getting the whole arena dry again, so I can identify quarter lines and work on yields from quarter to the rail, and having the entire length of the arena to get it pretty, rather than half or less like we've got now.
Our canter work was light and simple, and the up transitions are getting back in shape where they were. He was a little anti-ci-pating the canter ups, so I also worked on sitting the trot a while, waiting for him to settle down, and then ask for canter. He did break gait heading right on a straight-away, and when I asked for it back, we still had the lead. Nice!! The circle work at canter was good.. not trying to duck in or lean on me.
I found our up & down transitions are improving, really without much doing on my part except repetition. After Ransom had plenty of time to stretch & warm up those out of shape muscles, I did a bit of transition mixes. I'd ride each gait no more than one 20m circle before moving to something else. If the transition was decent, I'd keep moving. If it was ugly, head up & back tense, I'd go back where we'd been nearly immediately, and start over. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the quality of the down transitions, from canter to trot, and trot to walk. Walk to halt is still, in my opinion, nasty... Things to work on for sure.
I dropped my stirrups for the last 15 minutes, in an effort to improve my sitting trot. It was interesting. I can't seem to find the sitting trot beauty with my stirrups, but kick them away, and it was magic. Ransom gave at the poll, moved forward & out, and I felt his back coming up to me. Really Really magical, and both directions. I did a few transitions from walk to sitting trot, and stared at our hoofpaths in the soft footing. Impressive! It looked better sitting trot without stirrups than posting trot with stirrups. Must continue this exercise.
We rode together for 45 minutes. The days are getting longer, and so my rides are no longer cut short by darkness. After 6:00pm, it was still light enough to get things done. This means I won't have to run like a nut home, and scramble around the house to organize myself & my tack to squeeze a ride in. I've survived the worst of the dark winters, and Ransom's still moderately fit.
Chunky Mo... Yeah, he still needs more exercise. =) Poor guy...
I expected to be entirely sore & stiff this morning - all that stirrup-less work, the longer ride than I've had in over a week. But, no, I feel pretty good. Tired from not sleeping well, but not stiff & sore from the ride. Must repeat again tonight.
Tomorrow, we all go to the vet for our shots. Well, the boys will get their shots. I'll just be the protective Momma who holds their hands, um, hooves, and soothes their pain & fears. Get the cookies!