We got on with the ride and did much more trotting today, which was nice. He was being quite alert to our surroundings and about halfway through the ride, 4 of the November Hill felines emerged from various spots along the woodline, which I think explained Keil's intense focus at times as we passed by.
I am really enjoying the trot these days and also loving our new dismount routine. I think I wrote here previously that I am now dismounting onto the mounting block, which is a regular 2-step block that I put on top of two stacks of cinder blocks near the far corner of our arena. It puts me quite high up so that I can mount very easily without pulling on the saddle.
However, it is a little precarious - mostly steady but not completely balanced. When I dismount, Keil Bay has to get in the exact right spot and then stand like a stone so that I can take my right leg over and onto the block, then take my left foot out of the stirrup, which I do quickly so I have both feet on the top of the block.
At that point Keil Bay very kindly, in a move he made up himself, steps gently back so that I can use his neck as a "rail" to climb down to the ground. We have got this down pat at this point and as a thank you I immediately rub the sides of his face for him, then loosen the girth and run the stirrups up.
What for awhile was a sort of nightmare for me - mounting, then later dismounting - has become a very sweet routine again. Only now customized to my needs!
Today's high of 62 is dropping to 20 overnight with a high of 29 tomorrow and 2-5 inches of snow in the forecast. The wind is gusting outside, supposedly up to 35 mph, so hay is being served in the barn tonight and we will likely have a couple of days off from riding again. What a roller coaster this winter is being. The ice piles by the troughs just melted down today. It looks like with lows in the teens tomorrow night and single digits Wed. night we can make new ones. Thankfully Keil Bay does well with a 2-3 day on, 2-3 day off routine. I think at this point I'm the one who needs the daily ride!!