We finally warmed up from the very cold days and even colder nights we've had since Wednesday. I was determined to get in a ride and did so. Keil Bay had been looking so young and so athletic for the past few days I was dying to get in the saddle!
I am still riding him in halter and clip on reins, as there are aspects to his movement that I really like when he doesn't have the bit in his mouth. I can't say for sure it's connected, but if he goes well this way I'm going to keep riding him this way. It has to be easier on him and I love seeing his mouth free of the bit.
Today we did a fairly long warm-up. We walked at a slower pace for awhile, then at a nice big walk for awhile. He was going deep into every corner but the one by the hay tent (which was billowing) so we worked on not avoiding that corner and got things back to a full arena work-out.
His trot was really pretty lovely from the moment we transitioned into it, but it got even better as we warmed up. We did a fair amount of leg yield at the trot, shoulder-in/out (there is a wonderful exercise where you shoulder-in through the corner, straighten, the shoulder-out down the long side, then straighten, rinse and repeat. He really got into this and was doing it on his own without my anything but riding it. His shoulders became much freer and the trot was nicer after we finished this.
We trotted a pretty pitiful 20m circle and then cleaned it up quite a bit the next few times.
I did my backbone work-out before the ride today and felt again that it really freed ME up so that I could stay out of Keil's way as we rode.
We had Pixie-kit and both donkeys in with us today - they really seem to enjoy the rides as much as Keil and I do.
In other news, I am cranking along with writing routine each day. In the mornings I work on the new book; in the evenings I am revising/rewriting Never Not Broken. And finally, after several years without a writing group, a new one has started up. We're meeting two evenings a month and we started this past week. It's already energized me and I'm so happy it's back on my calendar again.
Tomorrow looks like a gorgeous day to get another ride in, and then tomorrow night we dip down low again. Tuesday and Wednesday look cold and windy and possibly snowy, so we'll see how things go.