Tuesday, January 7, 2014

1/4 & 5 / 2014

1/4, Saturday, in the afternoon, R came out to the arena to help with another short jump day for Harley.  I warmed him up pretty quickly, because I could feel his energy fading.  Knowing there wouldn't be much "horse go" left for a real ride, after the brief warm-up, I sent him down the line, pole, x, pole.  No problem. 

A few of those, then we turned it into pole, x, x.  Again, no problem.  A few more of those, and one more ground pole added at the end.  Harley was performing outstanding.  He was breathing hard, however, and so was I.  The weather had turned unseasonably warm, and filled with stuffy air.  I was having some trouble catching my breath.  So the total work was about 40 minutes, and while we didn't get as much done as I hoped, we got all good work accomplished.

1/5, Sunday, early morning, soon after the southern humid air was replaced with a nice chilly windy cool front, I took Harley to the arena for a dressage day.  I found his trot to be MUCH nicer than ever before.  I guess the jump work days, insisting on that big trot heading to the line, has increased his energy and upped my expectations on what I want from his trot.  The canter was just amazing.  He felt like a compact spring, short strides, and while it felt slow, it was "put together".  Just outstanding.  

He was stiff on bending, however, and it took quite a while to get the left-bend I'm aiming for.  Heading right, he was bent nicely, but started to lack energy, and needed some motivation.  I tapped him with the whip a few times, and he snapped back into shape. 

We concluded the work with some leg yields, and some shoulder-fore down the long sides.  One brief spook at the arena "fence tape" (of all stupid things) as it flapped in the wind, but otherwise he seemed focused on the job.  Anytime I got a step or two of shoulder-fore, I'd back off completely and send him straight a while.  There were some nice moments, and some terribly yucky ones, too. 

Monday (1/6) brought us a high temperature of 36, and a stiff wind.  I opted out of the rides yesterday (gee, I wonder why).   Today started out brisk and chilly, but the forecast says it'll be in the high 40s, low 50s by evening.  Maybe back in the tack tonight.

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