Shadow’s first pack
Another nice day and the snow drifts are holding together, so out for another hack. He was very good, with a relaxed walk and neck down, apparently enjoying our time together. We were in the Beaver Field named for its resident in the stream, and, while passing through, I did a double take at a large deer shed that was melting out of a snowbank. I got off and picked it up while Shadow stood well and then I remounted with it in my hand and he dealt nicely with it.
We hacked home with me riding one handed, which was only mildly difficult. Very good day.
The fields are pretty muddy, but I can get out without harming them by staying on the hedgerow snow drifts which are pretty much melted level now. We had a cheery hack around a few fields. He was very good.
It was warming up enough that the snow was letting loose and sliding down and off the roof of the indoor arena when we were working. The process makes a “zipping” noise that unnerves horses. He didn’t like it very much, but when he shied at it, it was mostly in place, which is a lovely thing in a horse. He was very pleasant to ride today.
Due to my travel, he’d had a lot of days off. Today I brought him in, groomed him and worked with his feet. We went in the indoor and he was a bit happy to go, but polite. He got better and better through the use of transitions and by the end he was quite good.
I will flesh this post out later, but suffice to say that really being true to the idea that the rider is to put the leg on first and go to the hand second has made a huge difference for the black horse!
Turns out that the halting and standing work yesterday came in handy today. Magee, my working student was mounting up in the arena and I had gone ahead with Shadow to wait outside in the sunshine. I asked him to halt and wait and it turned out to be for about 7 minutes as it took her a while to wrap the leathers around the stirrups to make my leathers short enough for her. Shadow stood very well!
Then we went on a walk and foxtrotting hack together. Shadow was, dare I say, great? He had a flat-footed walk on a slack rein, went through the occasional snowdrift with aplomb and foxtrotted his little self all over the place – in the lead, riding abreast and following. It was a real treat to ride him today.
We worked in the arena today and the usual balancing and bending exercises and added in halting and standing on a loose rein until he took a breath and entirely relaxed. It took a while the first few times, but he came around nicely. Very good.
The title of this post is not commenting on the weather. It is actually a very craptastic day, with ice and snow and bad roads and wind, but that is the beauty of an indoor. It makes most days lovely.
Shadow was much improved today. He was great about his feet and his standing still for mounting is improving. We started out with some walk halt work because he was just a little quick. When he was balanced over his feet, we proceeded on to foxtrotting and he produced some lovely, relaxed work. Magee was riding Eddie at the same time and there were times where we were walking together while I explained things and Shadow got along well with Eddie. A very good day.
It was snowing and Shadow didn’t use the sense God gave him to go into his snug run in. As a result, he was wet and probably a little cold, though not shivering, when I brought him in for grooming. He was good about picking up his feet. I tacked up and got on in the indoor and he was just silly. He was shying at things he has seen before. The good news is that when he shies, he stays in place for the most part. He got better and better as we went on and we ended on a good note.
I kept him in a stall overnight so that he for sure wouldn’t get cold again. Looked happy as a lark.
Well, the storm they were talking about came. Not huge wind, but lots of rain. We rode in the indoor where, in the morning, we had hosted a dressage clinic. As a result of the clinic, there were chairs in one corner and a tripod and camera standing in another corner. He gave them a good look, but didn’t shy. It was a very reasonable reaction.
We worked on keeping balance and rhythm in foxtrot, having a nice flat-footed walk, and he did very well.