Life has it's UPS and downs.
You will never fully appreciate the ups
unless you have some downs
It has been a turbulent few weeks since my last post, packed full of riding, not riding, and plenty of peaks and troughs.
The dressage clinic. Wonderful. Rio behaved impeccably, despite being absolutely shattered by the end of the lesson in the morning and refusing to go up into canter. He redeemed himself immensely when performing the test in the afternoon - 63.2% in our first test ever! Even though he dropped out a little early from the canter on the second rein. His trot was fab, he's got a lovely rhythmical trot which suits dressage very nicely it would seem. The day wasn't without it's drama however, as a friend's horse slipped whilst cantering a 20m circle, and went over, smashing her big toe. Luckily no broken ankle or leg, but it was horrifying to watch unfold (seemingly in slow-mo!)
I think he was pretty pleased with it.
Clipping was not such a fun experience. Despite having had a nice relaxed leg stretch after the fun at the clinic, and him practically falling asleep on the spot when we got back, those clippers still instil the fear in him. I may have to resort to him needing mild sedation to get this done moving forward, and save us all some stress. He is back to his handsome ways now though, and has undergone a full clip this time!
After a few days off, we had a lovely ride out in the countryside with a couple of friends. My gosh was it windy, but all four boys were very well behaved - even on the big hills where things might have gotten messy. Last Friday, after a few more days of doing nothing, Rio came in and we did some schooling. We are focussing not so much on a full contact, I am looking more for him to seek the bit out for himself, and working a little longer and a little lower. We will be working up and in from there. He did very well, and was wonderfully relaxed. As a treat, he had his whole field for the night, so he could enjoy some proper green grass!
Too much proper green grass!
The fun returned on Saturday morning, including (but not limited to)
spooking at anything and everything possible
freaking out when I turned him around outside the gate to close it
running back into the field
being on his toes walking up - cue him being sent out around me in a circle for a few minutes
fidgeting every time I went to pick up a foot
standing on my foot
being a spooky sweetheart on the way back down to the field, with freshly picked feet, and his rug changed
When we walked back down, I imposed some in hand schooling to keep him busy. We stopped, started, walked, jogged, stepped back, and he did it all foot perfect. He's so lucky I love him to pieces!
Last night, with carrot stick in hand, I made my way to the field to retrieve the boy - "I'm taking no prisoners tonight" was my text to Sarah! Of course, he didn't bat an eyelid at the gate, didn't dance about, and barely fidgeted whilst I got him ready and tacked up. Just another day... He got lots of cuddles and strokes. We went for a windy wander with Sarah and Franks around the field next door, and after a silly spook from Rio in the corner, where I sat tight - I took us off around the village for a proper leg stretch. It was trying to drizzle, but it wasn't too bad, and I felt much better for having taken him out.
Even better - we are having a pole clinic with a friend on Easter Monday, and I'm really looking forward to it. Watch this space!