Winter is upon us, full force. It has been really cold in the mornings, I can't even feel my toes when I ride! It's not just my imagination, it was literally freezing cold (32 degrees).
On Saturday morning Cupid and I shared the arena with two dressage horses. They were practicing some pretty advanced movements and I had a hard time avoiding them because I was never sure which direction they would be going. We had one close call but luckily avoided a collision.
Cupid started out a little slow, I think due to the cold. I let him walk for a while to warm up, then we moved to a trot and worked on some circles and serpentines. I asked for a canter on the left and he just trotted faster. I tried again with the same result, so I realized I needed to get him in front of my leg and we did some shortening and lengthening at the trot. Then we picked up the canter on his easier side (right lead). He was still a little slow, I think he flattened to a four beat gait at one point so on the long sides I got up in two point and asked him to move out a little. Then we cut across the short side of the ring, and when I asked him to come to a trot in the middle he correctly anticipated a simple lead change and that we were turning left. This has tended to work - he got the left lead. We went around a few times to the left.
We took a little walk break, and Cupid hung his head like he was exhausted. Such a drama queen sometimes! We did a little more trotting, then we picked up the left lead canter on a circle. We cantered over a ground pole a few times, and I focused on sitting back and trying to get him to the base of the pole.
On Sunday I put out several poles on the ground. We did a little trot course over them. Then I cantered them but just one lead at a time. With the cold his transitions were a little sticky. But he was very relaxed cantering over the poles and not trying to jump them or taking off the long spots. After about half an hour in the ring we went on a little ride around the property. There was frost on the grass, and I could hear ice cracking as we walked across a little puddle. Cupid startled a bit at a tarp that blew in the wind but kept walking. Despite the cold we had a good weekend and I'm happy I was able to get two rides in.