Yesterday was bitter cold and we were very late getting chores done. I also received the news that Anya's broken leg wasn't healing at all and would need to be amputated. I was heartsick and tired and not in the mood to ride. When I feel that way, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. Or...sometimes the best thing to do is just RIDE! I figured at the very least, I had to ride Junior since he couldn't go out with his missing shoe. We bundled up and headed to work.
Junior's biggest issues are balance and throughness, especially in the canter. I've been riding him for some time in the snaffle and am happy to continue for a while. He prefers the double, but I prefer the snaffle for the time being. After warm-up, I focused on transitions within the gaits to establish the sit and the forward. He's working on one tempis, but has the tendency to lose forward momentum to the point where we've done 10 or so and have barely gotten to X. He needs to keep forward with the changes. I turned the ones into a game and did them everywhere in sets of 3 or 4, but no more...in "big" collected canter. He thought that was great fun and wanted to keep playing the game, but the farrier arrived. Junior needed a new shoe, so that was that.
Today, I decided to have a good workout since he was with all 4 shoes in place and got to spend the morning outside. We worked on straightness by riding many lines of renvers in counter canter. I love that exercise and will often combine half-pass with the renvers. By the end of the ride, he was very much into the bridle and active behind. We did several huge, jumping lines of tempis (which are his favorite) just to prove he can maintain the frame and jump even in the movements. We finished with a lovely collected trot with nicely moving freedom in the shoulders and nice connection to the bridle. He was very proud of himself!
BooBoo was excellent today as well. He is developing much more self-confidence and even had a major spook while heading to the show barn that did not end up in my lap. For those of you who know BooBoo, that is a major accomplishment! He jumped straight forward, but stopped himself before his ribcage was next to me. There was a kerfuffle to the right of him in the field that surprised me as well, so this is a big step for him. I was very proud, indeed!
BooBoo and I worked primarily on the leg yield movement for in First 3. It's very tricky and he is very wiggly, so a good exercise for him to master. I have to constantly repeat to myself "my legs keep the hips behind the shoulders and my hands keep the shoulders in front of the hips. Leg to hand and back again. Forward and round and side to side. It's like a song.
He likes to be croup high in canter, so we did lots of big canter and back again. Each time his croup would come off, we'd hustle off again. I could get longer and longer periods of collection in between.
Time to finish, lessons starting. No time to ride anyone else afterward