Sunday, March 18, 2012
Saturday morning I awoke to extremely dense fog. As I made may way over to the barn the only sign of life that I could see were the milking rooms of the dairy barn. Barely able to see a few feet ahead of me, the trip took 35 minutes rather than the usual 20. It was still and quiet when I arrived at the barn. The woods behind the outdoor ring were almost invisible. Nikki's deep nicker greeted me when I opened the door and called her name, making me smile. I wasn't sure if the horses had been fed, and with the lights off they all seemed to be enjoying the last minutes of their snooze before the daily activities began. Enjoying the peacefulness the barn, I prepared Nikki to for our ride. I love riding early in the morning, and with temperatures in the low 40's I wouldn't even be cold! One of my goals for the ride was to focus on shortening and lengthening of stride. We were off to a bit of a slow start, but after a bit of canter work, Nikki really began to engage her hind end. The trot shortenings and lengthenings were lovely! As Nikki shortened her stride I could feel her come up in her back and her whole frame lift. When i asked for the lengthening she gave a big push when asked and lengthened stride without getting flat or strung out. It was AWESOME!! The canter transitions within the stride were not as dramatic, but they are definately improving. To help with that I worked on spiraling in on the trot circle then leg yielding back out to the 20 meter. As soon as I hit the 20 meter I ask for the canter transition which was clean and sharp, followed by a bit of lengthening down the long side. She was light and responsive.....I am smiling as I write this, feeling it again. I love giving her big hugs after our ride. She likes to turn around to take the brush and "help" groom! How I love this baby! Later in the afternoon I lunged Suki. Jennifer came over to visit and take photos. Suki seems to respond to her, posing for the camera and giving a full dose of her diva personality! With the other horses still turned out I wasn't sure how silly Suki would behave! Sometimes it distracts her and she tries to leap around on the lunge. But given her current fitness level those antics can't last very long. But also given her fitness level she can get hurt. Suki didn't seem to mind leaving Banker in the field, so we were off to a good start!