I've had a few weeks without riding, one of those terrible cycles I get in periodically, and when today dawned with sunshine and the promise of temps above 50, I decided it was past time and a perfect day to hop back on the handsome Bay.
He seemed happy to be groomed in the big barnyard. His feet are looking great, and I was thrilled to see his heels spreading a bit in front and the frogs getting wider. His fur is soft and glossy, and although he has a little dandruff in his mane and tail, the hair is thick and shiny, and feels silky when I brush it out.
I had a brief thought of giving him his sport cut today, but then decided that might get me in trouble time-wise, and the goal was to RIDE, not play salon.
Keil Bay always takes the bit. I mean, he literally places his mouth onto it while I hold the bridle up. Maybe three times he has not offered that courtesy, and today was one. I know the times he hasn't taken the bit coincided with my using a peppermint flavored bit wipe, so that might explain it, but my tendency is to listen to the Bay when he gives me a message, because he knows his body and he is never naughty just to be naughty. It always means something.
When I put the bridle away and came back with his halter and clip-on reins, he stuck his nose right in. We had a nice ride, and he moved off my leg well. I was forced to work on aids from the seat and legs, which was good for me.
As is usual, he was relaxed and ready to head out to the field when we were done. The Big Bay loves having his work done early in the day. He has a definite sense of pride when he walks down the hill.
My daughter warmed Cody up and then rode the Training 1 dressage test. He was not as good in the trot, but the canter looked lovely. I suspect his recent chiro adjustment straightened some things out and he's sorting it all out under saddle.
The pony had a ground work session with my daughter, who had him walking, trotting, and sidepassing today. He's beginning to do a fair amount of work with her almost directly behind him, as if she's long-lining. I am thinking this bodes well for driving training.
We also had to do some donkey-proofing today. Redford discovered he is still small enough to walk through the stile! And Rafer craftily discovered that a certain piece of Horseguard tape was not 'on' - and climbed through it. The stile is now barricaded until young Redford grows a bit, and the tape has been turned on, so here's hoping Team R and R, as Sheaffer calls them, will stay put. They have been in very high spirits this week, and I think it's safe to say we've moved past convalescence and are now in "back to normal" mode. I had forgotten that normal for donkeys (and sometimes ponies) includes all sorts of shenanigans. They keep us on our toes. :)
This evening we had the annual Pony Club Christmas party. Along with lots of good food there was a truly lovely slide show on the big screen TV with perfectly matched music - all of the girls (and one boy) with their mounts doing various activities throughout the past year. My daughter got four pairs of socks from the gift exchange (and I secretly cheered because now maybe she will stay out of mine!) and also an award - the Stick With It award - for her willingness to work with Cody on his crossing water issue, and being committed to teaching him how to be a great Pony Club mount.
It was a lot of fun.
We have a chance of rain tomorrow but I am hoping I can make time in the a.m. to ride. Afternoon is dressage lesson and picking up the Mystical Kit from his neutering. Sigh. He's already old enough to be neutered! And he is on the kitchen island right now, trying to nibble the gingerbread house.