|Cricket, rigged up in surcingle, bridle and long lines.|
My only New Year's tradition is to do on this day all the things with which I hope to fill the coming year. I spent time with friends and family, puttered with some hobbies, worked a little around my house, got in a bit of exercise and, of course, played with my horse.
Becky and I make a point to meet on New Year's Day and do something with the horses. The weather was supremely cooperative this year and we had a truly glorious day.
After hand-grazing and grooming, I played with Cricket just briefly. I need to work more variety into our ground play and until I get my creative juices going, I just want to make sure she's free and forward. She offered me some beautiful circles and I was pleased. I sent her over a small cross-rail, part of a pattern that was set up in the arena, and she took it nicely in stride.
I saddled up with my ReactorPanel, my fantabulous English saddle. One of my goals is to start jumping and to do so, I need to reacquaint myself with my English saddle. I decided to shorten my stirrups as I have a feeling they are way too long. It felt awkward at first but as soon as Cricket picked up a trot, I realized how much easier it was to rise to her trot with shorter stirrups.
After a nice warm-up, I took her through the jump pattern. We trotted up the east wall and around the north side of the arena. We turned in and took three trot poles back towards the east wall. Following the east wall, we came around the open south end towards the small cross-rail. And then we jumped.
Okay, not a real jump. Cricket took the jump in a high trot stride. But still . . . She was so soft and forward. She felt so balanced and sane. It was wonderful. I wasn't afraid at all. Well, maybe I was a little apprehensive but it felt so good.
So we did it again. And then again. The final time through, she jumped a little more and that was just fine.
I was thrilled!
We finished with some left lead canter circles. I had asked Cricket for a right lead and she was very rushy and I didn't like it. I put her on the left lead on a question box. The first time, she popped two little bucks. I think I was squeezing her with both legs. The second time, she was relaxed and forward.
I decided to strip her saddle off and rig her up in long lines and her surcingle. It's been ages since we've done anything with driving and I'd like to get back on track with it. We did a simple follow the rail and we just worked on solving the puzzle of following a feel on the lines. I asked her for some trot but was unable to be effective from Z5. We need to play with that some more. I quit when she offered a canter stride - not because I wanted the canter but because she tried really hard to do what she thought I was asking.
The day ended with more hand grazing in neighbor Dave's field.
If that day is a sign of things to come in the new year, I couldn't be happier.