We made a trip to Water Farm on Monday evening after work to do some schooling, with Sarah and Franks. It was a thank you for us helping out at the second dressage clinic last weekend. Can't ask for better payment than free use of a lovely indoor arena! It was made all the more interesting when Nancy joined us. This is Nancy:
She is very opinionated, and was not interested in the slightest in leaving us to it. Luckily Rio wasn't too worried about her, although he did avoid her for a couple of rounds. We did some lovely demi-volts along the opposite side of the school, and then set back to it, and he was fine.
We had some fab movement and work in the trot, and he's really starting to work better from behind now - which followed through into tonight's session at the yard! I was a little disappointed with the canter work (or lack thereof!) at Water Farm, after we hacked out twice at the weekend and did none at all. I thought he'd be itching to get going.
Tonight I was very pleased with everything he did, on the ground and in the saddle. He stretched down and forward beautifully by the end of the session, and we managed our longest canter in our grass arena yet - and he didn't drop out of it on his own, I asked him forward to trot! As a little bonus my friend was having her horse schooled by a mutual friend who teaches, and as we were trotting around at the end, he gave me some pointers on getting Rio working more effectively from behind and pushing down and forward. I was absolutely beaming by the end, but shattered!
Absolutely brilliant discovery - take feet out of stirrups, and let them drop down, and Rio stops dead in a perfect square halt.
Not so good when I eventually come to wanting to work without stirrups, but interesting nonetheless. I ride quite short, so it must feel very odd to him when my legs stretch down!
After Franks had a bit of a meltdown on our casual walk out on Saturday, courtesy of the two practising trial bikes I inadvertently took us past, I decided to take Rio out for a casual walk up the road on Sunday morning. I was determined to clock up another solo ride, and this one was a bit of a challenge that I ended up being proud of.
We crossed the road, where he took offence to something (still no idea what!) and promptly spun to the right, and took off up the 3 foot grass bank. Onto the farmer's field. Not good! I used my recently learned trick of lifting my right rein to bend him and disengage his hind, and brought him back quickly, before too much damage could be done to the crop... I whisked him straight back off at the corner of the field, where he still put up an argument about proceeding up the road. After a moment of discussion, with a couple looking on from their car across the road, he eventually got on with it, and we marched on our way.
The ride was made up of little victories; sitting the spook, not turning back and making him listen to me, not turning around at the top of the road because my nerves were shot, and having a great trot across the two fields. The trip back down the hill was relatively uneventful, which was lovely.