Elsa goes adventuring

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Elsa enjoying the sunset

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I am clearly not the queen of selfies. But you get the idea.

Elsa started out in the arena helping me teach Kristen and MC on their horses and participating in the exercises.  After about half an hour of walk, trot and canter work, we headed out on a hack.  Kristen and I went north into the CRP field and then she showed me some new areas to ride in that she had learned about from a friend recently and from riding with Cindy.

We had a lovely ride and Elsa was a bit strong at first, but settled nicely about halfway through and was a peach at the end.

Elsa hack

IMG_6244I brought her in and tacked her up and started out on a hack in the beautiful sunshine.  We had a long walk warm up when we headed out on the gravel road.  We went east, on the way to the cemetery.  The footing was pretty good on the gravel road – the edges were lightly sandy.  After the walk warm up, we went on to some very nice trot work, a walk break, some canter and then we were at the cemetery.

We hacked home and then went down the hill to the end of the road in canter for balance work and then walked back up to cool out.  I let her graze in the round pen while I rode Tag.  There was some grass there, but not too much that she might have issues.

Elsa goes on a hack

Shedding! A hopeful sign of spring!

Shedding! A hopeful sign of spring!

Beautiful day so I took Elsa out on a hack.  We went around the field once clockwise, with a long walk warm up which ended in some canter work in the last third.  Then we stopped, turned around and came back in a counter clockwise manner.  We had a brief jump school on the way through the jump field and she was very good.  Then we walked home.  I gave her a good brushing at the end and she is shedding quite a bit!

Transitions and leg yields

We rode in a lesson with Miranda and Tag.  We started with some walk work, encouraging her to keep the tempo, then on on to a circle of canter and a circle of trot to circle of canter, rest and change directions repeat.  This is a good exercise to help her loosen her back and works quite well.  Then on to quarter line to quarter line walk leg yields as a warm down and in which she was very good!

Shedding and balance

Can spring be far behind?

I  took off her blanket and groomed her and her hair is starting to come off in earnest.  What a lovely sign of spring!  I tacked her up and rode in the indoor as it wasn’t the most pleasant day out and the footing was not great.

So we rode in the arena and she was very good.  She had some moments of real balance and relaxation (along with some moments of tension and quickness of course), but the balance and relaxation outnumbered the other moments quite nicely.  We ended up doing quarter line to quarter line leg yield, to canter depart, 15 m circle, then quarter line to quarter line leg yield the other way, to canter depart, 15 m circle and repeat.  This is a great balancing exercise and she just got better and better.

I let her have a nice roll in the sand after she was done.

Hack out in the sunshine

It has been a dreary week, so 42 degrees and sunshine felt like a good day for a hack.  We walked down the hill to the end of the road and then trotted and cantered back up.  She is not lame in this video.  I am posting.:

 

Sunshine over the cemetery is good reason to have ears up!

Sunshine over the cemetery is good reason to have ears up!

Then we had a walk break and continued on our merry way to Dalandar cemetery.  On the way, we worked on lengthening and shortening her walk and trot through the seat aids to good effect.  Doing the same in canter had some success, but she mentioned that she felt pretty good and spring was in the air, so coming back was a bit less effective than one might hope, but she did eventually come back.

We had a nice hack home in all gaits and walked the last quarter mile to cool down.  Then I untacked her and let her roll in the arena, which she was all about.

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On the trip home

Hilly hack

Only 34 degrees and overcast, but good footing on the gravel, so I tacked her up and rode her at a walk down the hill to the end of the road.  She took a few funny steps on the gravel, so I moved her over to the softer side and she was fine.  We trotted all the way back up the hill, then had a walk to the corner to catch her breath.  She felt really quite well in trot up the hill!  Happy to go.

Too breezy to continue up on the flat, so we turned around and walked back down the steep part of the hill, then had some very nice canter work on the less steep part of the hill.  Then another trot back up the hill, working on coming forward and going back in trot from my seat and she did very well!

Elsa goes on a hack (and tunes into the seat!)

IMG_5713Nice day, so obviously, time for a hack!  We took a nice long walk down the hill, partially because I wanted her to have a nice slow warmup since she hasn’t been out for a hack (to my knowledge) in a while, and because I wondered about the footing on the often-shady hill down to the river.  The footing turned out to be great, so we trotted back up the hill.  Then we had a walk past the barn on our way to the cemetery, and on to some more trot work, working on her responding to seat aids, and it worked surprisingly well, which was really wonderful.

IMG_5717On we went to the cemetery, which we both find really peaceful.  We tarried there a bit because it was quite beautiful.

Then a walk and trot down the road back to the main road.  A crew was working on that old house on the corner.  They had all sorts of stuff going – jackhammers, nail guns, you name it.  She had a little bit of a reaction to the surprise of the nail gun, but after a bit, dealt with it just fine.

5:15 p.m. and still light. Spring is coming!

5:15 p.m. and still light. Spring is coming!

On the main road we had a quarter mile or so of about a  450 mpm hand gallop, which she enjoyed immensely, and I may have been grinning as well.  Then a trot on the east/west road that goes back to the barn, where she suggested I take this picture.

We had a nice walk the last quarter mile back, and then I untacked her and let her have a good roll in the sand.  She proceeded to run about and buck a bit after rolling too.  Crazy kid.  Good girl.

Some looseness

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I tried to take a picture of Elsa rolling tonight, but my camera had gone into hibernation when it got cold. So here is a picture of Tag rolling. Hers looked a lot like this. LOL

Started out in walk work tonight and she was fairly loose right away, which is really lovely.  On to trot, where the trend did not continue spontaneously.  We did a lot of suppling with leg yield to get her to go to the outside rein without leaning on it.  That seemed to help  her a fair amount because we had some very nice canter work.  She is definitely on the right track.

After the ride, I took her tack off and let her roll in the arena, which she did and then she had a brief gallop as well, which she apparently enjoyed immensely!

Letting go

I brought her in groomed and tacked her.  She had moderate snow balls in her front feet.  For horses who are shod in winter, I recommend drilltek for traction and snow poppers to keep the snow from building up.  She stood beautifully for tacking up.  Such a sweet girl.

I had the balancing rein on again today to help her learn a way to relax her poll and not brace.  In walk and trot we had very good success with occasional correction.  Canter is still a brace festival, but by the end she was able to relax for a few more strides in canter than when she started.  Actually very good progress.