Mine & Harley's plans were changed Saturday night. Available lesson time was too reasonably late to get back home, unpack, feed everybody, eat my own supper, and rest, then wake up Monday morning for 4:30am alarm. In some ways, I like my work schedule, when I get every other Friday off, and am able to get home before it's dark in winter time. When I have to end Sunday evening activities early enough to get rest, it's a hassle to be at work at 6:30am. *sigh*
Sunday morning, I decided to make the best of the situation. I put the HDR event seat on Harley, as my Collegiate hunt seat needs a gullet change. Thinking it would fit him well enough, I put it on with a simple square pad, and off we went. At the arena, I realized it was a bit too wide for him. Yup, that's why we're going one narrower than avg on the hunt.. grr. This changed our plans just a hair... anyways..
After a quick warmup longe, I hopped on, laughing at myself. Ouch, my legs screamed. We haven't been this bunched up in over a year, lady. What makes you think we can stay up here and not use different muscles? Ouch! It took me nearly fifteen minutes at trot and canter (even with trot over poles) before I felt my balance again without leaning forward. My heels bounced down with every trot stride, making me laugh quite a bit. Boing!
I sent Harley through the trot poles posting trot, with the same success he's had. Stepping lightly through, no toes on the poles. Fantastic, despite my wobbly legs. Good kid.. I lifted myself up into two point, and he came to a walk. Seems Harley thought Mom was falling forward, and didn't want to lose me. Cute kid! I went on the rail at two point trot a little while, moving my upper body upright enough to keep him going forward, inching up a little on his front end, while clucking and talking to him. A gentle pat, and he realized he had the right answer by moving forward. Through the poles again, two point trot, great results.
At the canter poles, we had all the same problems. Two point in front of them, and he was back to trot. *sigh* Back up to canter, two point on the other rail side, upper body inching forward just a little while trying to keep heels down and centered over the saddle. Aimed at the poles, kiss kiss kiss, through them again with no toes touching.
Changed direction, and now realizing I wasn't going to fall off when I leaned forward, Harley was more agreeable to the two point over poles.
I had this brave idea in the morning that, if the ground pole work went well, I'd set up a tiny x-rail. This was a great idea, but knowing the saddle was a bit too wide, and therefore sat a little too close to his withers, I scratched that plan. This would be Harley's first jump over anything beyond a ground pole, and I didn't want to risk any sort of discomfort, at all, due to tack fit.
I'll change the Collegiate gullet out today or tomorrow. Seems my ornery little head cold has migrated up to a sinus/throat infection. I finally gave in and went to the doctor yesterday (1/9) afternoon. I'm sure I did more damage out riding all weekend, and bathing Harley with cool water. Ah, well.. too stubborn to quit until I know for sure my activity makes me feel worse rather than better.
Harley enjoyed a huge handful of cookies after his near hour long efforts. R was out in the arena for the end of the ride, and got the pleasure of watching H work through the ground poles near effortlessly. We're not perfect yet, but he's enjoying his work, and I am enjoying something other than 20m circles. Jump and huntseat work will break up the dressage boredom, at least until the temperatures are trending warm again.
I didn't meet my "mailbox goal" for 2011, so it'll be back on the books for 2012. I think I'll start with hand walking again, and progressively go farther from home every trip. Plenty to get his attention down the road, with young boys playing sports in the front yard, vehicle traffic (of all kinds, shapes, and sizes), neighbors walking their herd of dogs, along with the occasional "doesn't stay in their home yard mutt". Add a paved road, and a line of horse-eating mailboxes, it's a journey of wild baby-learning adventures.