Have I been able to ride much? No. No I have not. But I did ride before the super freeze that has hit everyone, today was a high of one degree. ONE! Not as bad as some people but damn it is cold in my area. Not only did I bring the barn cats in the house, I also brought the chickens in the garage to keep from freezing. Everyone should be able to go back outside by Thursday, the countdown begins!
On Saturday I was determined to ride so I had RB4 come over to force me to ride. I rode Mia first, it was in the 20's and I wanted to get the harder ride out of the way. For having a week and a half off, she was pretty good overall. She was certainly a big bundle of energy and riding her is SO different than riding my boys. The App's firecracker personality doesn't come close in comparison, Mia is SO forward yet not rushed. Lots of suspension without being a pogostick. In our ride Saturday RB4 said it almost looked like she is giving an extended trot, I can only think that this must be what riding a big warmblood must feel like. Sit Down! Sit Back! Hold On! Her steering was pretty spot on and even with her zooms she felt pretty balanced in our serpentines. I never did end up with her nice slow trot but that is okay, I likely need to just get more accustomed to her faster trot to reinforce the "in front of leg" mentality. Yikes!
After a good 20 mins of fighting with her to stay contained, I finally just gave up and let her canter and then kept her cantering. I started her bad way first, cantering to the right. She is suddenly having issues picking up the right lead and it is requiring me to make a small circle and ask for the canter when coming out of said circle in order for her to get it. It is odd because she didn't have this issue when we were learning to canter, I am curious if I am contributing to it at all but RB4 said she didn't see anything obvious. We are going to have to work on it more. After getting the canter, Mia's canter was much improved over the past few rides. She no longer feels like she is desperately trying to keep herself between me and the ground (which is extremely uncomfortable and hard to ride) and was moving with semi decent balance. Enough balance that I actually sat her canter for the first time instead of riding in a half seat, go us! We are still having steering issues in the right lead canter and there was one time where she actually hit the wall with her left front because she was simply refusing to turn, at least it was her and not me hitting the wall. She seems to hit the centerline on a circle and just goes straight instead of continuing the circle despite my inside leg, inside rein and outside rein. It was the same issue we had in the trot and it finally resolved itself so we just need more practice, it is just frustrating.
After a good 3 minutes of cantering I let her drop back to a trot and Mia was much more relaxed. Apparently that was the workout she needed to help her brain function better so I took the opportunity to go the opposite direction. The left lead was much easier and I was able to even slow her down a little before calling it a day. Our big accomplishment was in the cool down ride though, we started doing some baby lateral movements in the walk! A bit of the shoulder in which is easy(ish) but then we got some haunches in and even some baby half pass. Yay us!
When I was done I seriously regretted leaving the TWH last, I should have ridden him first so I had gas in my tank for Mia instead of blowing it on Mia and being drained for the TWH. Alas, that was my mistake and not his so I tacked the TWH and hopped on. RB4 let me know the "collected" walk I was trying to get is just a tense, inverted, short strided walk and I should knock it off lol. The real magic, however, was in the TWH's trot. In our last ride we worked really hard on transitions because the TWH had gotten really sloppy. The lesson apparently stuck well as RB4 commented his transitions were excellent and not only was he picking the gait right up, there is no shuffling at all. She asked if I thought his ligaments were healed and I said yes, she agreed with me and said he was looking amazing. She said his trot has some extension, he is even flicking his toes out. While he didn't have true suspension, he had more loft in his trot and he looked like a "real dressage horse" (whatever that means hahaha!). If I had known I would have grabbed the camera, I would have loved video of the ride.
TWH's ride was kept short to only a half hour, since he is SO much hairier than the others he takes so much longer to cool and dry when he gets hot. And other than needing to become fit, he didn't need a long schooling ride. I am so happy with him and am really excited about getting everyone in shape so we can jump something. I can't believe it is already January, time is flying by!