After realizing that I really don't have much time before our first possible show, I realized I needed to get back in my jumping saddle. I rode Mia on Thursday and had Friday off for Valentine's day. Saturday I spent a lot of time messing with my arena, it develops plenty of hills and divots as the horses find a preferred sleeping/rolling spot as I use my arena as a run in. It is now fairly level again and ready to support some jumping!
After giving some lessons, I hopped on the TWH to goon our short loop ride, the 3 mile ride. I used the jumping saddle to work on my two-point and put on a new hackamore, I am hoping to jump the TWH in a hakamore since he is so light in the bridle. If Novice is as high as he will really compete, thanks to his gaitedness in dressage, I might as well try something new and be different!
It started out slow, the snow covered road wasn't really slippery but slick enough that the TWH would occasionally slide a hoof as we went down a hill. As we got to the flat sections we were able to trot without slipping so up into two point I went. As we go to the second intersection of the loop, I heard snow mobilers coming. Oh great, is this going to be a repeat of 2011, going to be better or worse? Because I had brought the dog with me, I stopped and made her sit while I put the TWH's head down and waited. Thankfully these guys were more considerate than the snow mobilers in 2011 and didn't accelerate as they passed. I waited to see what the TWH would do and he did nothing. NOTHING! No twitch of the ear, no raising of his head, just standing there waiting for them to pass. That makes me SO HAPPY as this is SO not the horse I used to have. We kept going and about 10 minutes later they came back the other direction and we had a repeat performance, TWH stood still and didn't care and the snow mobilers were respectful in passing. Go TWH!
We trotted about a third of the loop and while it wasn't a lot, with his very heavy and thick coat he was a bit sweaty so he got to hang out under a cooler for a while as I reflected on our ride. My two point is much better than expected but what I really liked about the ride was the hackamore reaction. As of right now he doesn't seem to have a lot of whoa with it but he has a ton of poll flexion now. I think I will take poll flexion for now because if he is getting strung out, getting him to flex at his poll flexes most of his issues anyway. He was nice and quiet in the hackamore and seemed to move nicely in it. Definitely something we will be trying more often!
I then rode Mia as I wanted to get her ridden a couple of times in the jumping saddle before I put her over any poles. She was much better this time and was more consistent. The first time riding her she had a very hard time keeping her tempo and this ride was much better. No random stopping/slowing. I am also extremely impressed with myself, I haven't been in two point since September and not only can I maintain the position, I am pretty solidly balanced with a good leg. Go me!!! Mia also did fairly decent in the canter, she seems to like me being off of her back. Mia's dreaded right lead wasn't too bad and I was able to give her the reins for a stride or two and she was able to carry herself decently before falling apart. That's progress! Now that she seems comfortable with me being in a two point position, and my two point is pretty solid, I think it is time to throw her over some poles and see how she does!