The morning dawned full of promise. I had a leisurely coffee and then put on my 'working' jeans and rubber boots. I started with picking out the small paddock and tidying up the hay that fell on the ground. The slow feed net is working well and there's very little waste. I then took the tractor and dragged the ring. For some reason I find dragging the ring very satisfying- it's the next best thing to meditation. I then emptied the manure car. We have different piles for the year so that we can benefit from the composted manure from the year before. It's very rich and crumbly. I grabbed a bucketful in the tractor and took it up to Steele's grave. With the recent heavy rains a sink hole opened up over his grave and it was driving me crazy. I filled it in and stamped it down.
The sun was now nice and warm and the horses were dozing happily in the warmth. I've noticed that Irish now likes to doze down by Steele's grave. He never used to go down to that end of the field before Steele died. I don't know if it's related or not but now I do sometimes wonder.
I called the dogs and we sat on the deck while I gave them both a good groom. Chester the kitten joined us. The dog hair was flying and Chester was having a ball chasing it around the yard. d'Arcy is a BC so a rampaging kitten requires supervision. He tolerated the grooming but was off like a shot as soon as I let him go. Here's a video to demonstrate how difficult it is to herd kittens:
By the time I was done I was dirty and happy but I was waiting for Cynthia to come so we could ride together. I headed in the house and distracted myself with house cleaning and laundry. I finally headed out to the barn and got the horse's stalls ready. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas- I was really looking forward to the ride. I groomed Carmen and got her ready. I know Cynthia was close and with Carmen having had 5 days off I figured she would need some extra time lunging.
Carmen was a bit excited but settled in very quickly to the work. While we working Cynthia came up with Irish and I was pleased that I could keep her focus on me and not on Irish coming into the ring. Shortly after they arrived I mounted. Again she was a bit tight but we were able to work through it. She was quite looky at the side by the next field. I could hear something in the grass too so it was understandable. However, we were still able to use the entire ring with very little fuss. What I've noticed is that Carmen will still get tense but it takes very little to get her back to me. Once I spied Irish and Cynthia going up by troll corner so I decided to follow along on the inside. When we right in troll corner Irish gave a huge spook which spooked Carmen. She spun a half turn to the inside but stopped right away and then we went on doing our work. It surprises me when it happens but it no longer upsets or unnerves me.
We did some serpentines- I love how easy she is to change bends (except when she's fixated on something). We did some canter work. I really focussed on keeping a following seat and hands and keeping my thighs off. That worked fabulously and had some nice canter work. I've been trying to figure out why she sometimes bucks in the trot-canter transition and gets annoyed. I really tried to tune in and see what I was doing. I used to think that it was because I was tense but I don't think that anymore. What it seemed to be that I've gotten lazy in my asks and if it's not the right timing with her footfalls she gets upset. When I got it right the transition was lovely. I'm still not sure 100% that that is the issue but I will test it out the next few rides.
I finished with some lovely walk work. we halted and I gave her the rein. She stood there with her head down, relaxing while Cynthia and I chatted. I let her stand a bit and then dismounted. In the barn we fed the horses and headed into the house for a shower and a glass of wine. Ed picked up some steaks and the four of us (Cynthia's husband joined us) had a delicious dinner of grilled steak, backed potatoes, fried onions and kale salad.
We were all ready for a nap after but we had a curling game to get to (yes I am a curler, after all why frustrate yourself with one impossible sport like dressage when you can do two?). It's a social mixed league and a lot of fun.
(gratuitous funny video about my sport)
By the time I crawled into bed I was tired and happy. Now that winter is coming the ability to ride regularly will diminish so I have to grab the times that I can.