So far the new year has been pretty nice. I finally pulled my lip stitches out this past weekend, they were highly irritating and the doctor said they should fall out in a week so I don't feel bad. The weather has been pretty nice, albeit unseasonally warm. This time last year we had almost a foot of snow and now we have none and it is staying in the 30-40's during the day. However, while I love the warmer days, the mud season is not so enjoyable. Ugh.
I am working at riding regularly again, I've ridden a few times already this year. I rode the TWH last week and rode the App this past weekend on a trail ride. I brought our new dog along and she loved the run. She is a coming 6 yr old German Shepard whose goal in life is to carry a stick and fetch a ball. She is a really good dog and did very well on our trail ride. The App and I trotted about 2 miles of the 3 mile ride and the App was surprisingly well behaved during the entire trip. Except for the last 5 mins but we won't count that. The App was pretty relaxed, he stayed in a trot when asked, he stayed at the speed I asked and walked when I asked. He didn't even scream his ever-loving head off (except for the last 5 mins). It was a very nice ride.
This morning I was up at 530a and had a mission to ride the TWH. I want to get him in shape to take a lesson but have had such a hard time finding time to be on a horse lately. Thus I took the opportunity of the SO needing to be at work early as an excuse to get my butt in gear and ride. I think the horses were surprised to see me before 6a, something I haven't done in a while. Imagine the TWH's surprise when I only gave him a handful of grain while feeding everyone else and then more surprise when I drug him out of the stall and tacked him up. He was awfully suspicious and not too keen on the idea.
The ride went pretty well, I was working on trying to get the TWH to give a nice, forward, balanced trot where he is definitely pushing from behind. It took a good bit of work to get it, he continues to poke his nose out and fall onto his forehand during any kind of smaller circle. I also had a bit of an issue where he would continue to flip his gaits around and not stick in a trot when I was spiraling in/out on a circle. That trait/habit is very frustrating and irritating and the only solution I have is to kick him forward or abruptly stop and then ask again. Eventually he did as asked and by bracing the outside rein I was able to get the TWH to bend and push with his hind. This is a different technique than the one used on the App, the App gets a braced inside rein, though it seemed to work much better. We were finally able to get some decent 10m circles and changes of direction without him sticking his nose out or dropping his shoulder. Dressage success!!
We finished the ride by opening the gate to the arena and the TWH decided he wouldn't have any of it. Spinning away, backing away, walking away, anything but sidepass with the gate. And then he made a bad decision, this is now the second time in 2 years he seriously thought about taking his front feet off of the ground and I won't allow any of that. I kicked him with both legs very hard, making him leap forward. I then put his nose to his flank and kicked very aggressively for about 5 circles and then let him walk himself to a stop. At least this way he can't take his front feet off of the ground in opposition to the discipline. I think he got the point that he was being very bad because when I put him next to the gate again, he decided he would nicely sidepass with the gate as it was being opened. These horses sometimes, I swear.