Monday, January 30, 2017

Drying Out

We have been enjoying a little break from the rain, and thankfully the barn areas are drying up.  Except unfortunately the turn outs, which are a swampy mess.  At my farrier's suggestion I am turning Cupid out with bell boots, to hopefully help his shoes stay on.  I try to flip them up and make sure they are clean and dry underneath.
Wearing bell boots in the sloppy turnout

In our last lesson we were in the outdoor ring for the first time in several weeks, as the ring had been closed due to the rain.  We were actually the first ones to use it, it was freshly dragged and the footing was a little saturated but overall quite good.  Apparently Cupid thought being outside was a little exciting!  He was a little quick and distracted, but manageable.  There was a pile of equipment just outside the arena, Cupid didn't notice it at first until we changed directions then when he saw it he did a little sideways spook.  (We also had a few more tiny spooks passing by this spot, but only about one every 10 times past it.)  After a quick warm up we went on a 20 meter circle to get Cupid paying attention to my inside leg inside of everything outside.  If he got quick then we would reduce the circle to 10 meters (or as close as I can get to that!) 

We did a little canter each direction.  When we were cantering a 20 meter circle on the left lead my inside foot came out of the stirrup, so I still need to work on sinking into that heel.  My new main focus in my riding is to sink my weight down, and then use my lower leg to cue instead of bringing my heel up (where it usually gets stuck in the up position with my bracing my foot against the stirrup.)

After our canter we went back to a trot, and Cupid asked if he could do a stretchy trot.  We have been working on that the last few weeks, and I think he decided it's his new favorite exercise!  So we did a little stretchy trot each direction.

Then we did a little sitting trot.  I have largely been spared from this since Cupid was young, but I think I can't use that excuse any longer.  I sense a lot of sitting trot and maybe even no stirrup work in my near future.  ::eek::

We finished the lesson with leg yielding and a little intro to the half pass!  We started by doing a little leg yielding off the rail then back on.  I still find it easier to move Cupid off my right leg, but he did good both directions.  Then my trainer told me to leg yield off the rail, straighten, then bend Cupid towards the rail before leg yielding back.  It was very subtle and gradual, and I'm not sure we were straight enough, but my trainer said it was a good start.  I think it was one of the best flat lessons we've ever had!

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