I rode at Frank Miller’s with Alayne and Matt. Frank’s is a nice little quarterhorse barn in Maple Valley. His arena fee is cheaper than Cedar Downs ($10 instead of $15). He has a nice arena with deep footing (hard work for the horses) and an area of trail obstacles at one end of the arena. He has aisles on either side of the arena, with stalls on the outside of them. very stall is full. Anyway, on to my night.
I tacked up at home, loaded up and trailered over. When I unloaded, Ariel was her usually little snorty self; at least the way she usually is when she’s smelling new smells. You know, that little snort that doesn’t really have much expression other than “Ooh, I smell lots of new things.”
I brought her inside and into the arena. Alayne and Matt were already riding. I untied the stirrups and gently set them back to normal position and then adjusted the length back to mine; they were still set for Paddock Boy’s inseam from when I gave him the lesson. I did some groundwork in the end of the arena away from the trail obstacles. She was light, responsive, and not in the least bit freaky. She was still blowing occasionally, but when she got warmed up, she quit doing it. After about 10 minutes, I got on.
I did some bending and circles and just general moving around in the open end of the arena. We gradually made our way down to the obstacles. At first, we just moved around the arena rail. She was looking at all that stuff, but I wasn’t wanting to go there just yet. We did a few laps all the way around. Eventually, I did take her to the obstacles. First the rails, then eventually the rails that were set up near other items. Snorty, but not really refusing.
The refusing happened when we got the the elevated platform. I got a few good steps forward, and then decided to do that task from the ground instead. I got off and then drove her toward, and eventually up on it. Unfortunately, when she’d come off, she wanted to walk right over the top of me. She was more worried about the big box full of water on her other side. I basically didn’t set myself up very well on that. My bad. Gonna remember that for next time. After ground driving her onto the platform, she was more than willing to go over it under saddle.
After we got some good things going, I went back to “regular” riding; lots of walk/trot transitions and eventually attempts and trot/canter ones. Those trot to canter ones are still sticky. Most often, not on the correct lead. And sometimes with half-hearted kicks thrown in. I gave many breaks to her in the 45 minutes or so we worked on that. It was pretty humid in there, and she sweated up pretty good after just a short bit of work.
I ended with some bending and backing and slow work. She was soft and light and oh so quiet. Standing calmly next to Alayne’s gelding Bear and Matt who was riding Annie. Absolutely no cranky faces from her! I was a happy camper, and tired. I got home about 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.