Weekend of AWESOME

My oh my, where to begin!

Let's start with Friday. I think that's a good place.

On Friday nights I have barn duties, so I didn't have a ton of time on my hands to ride, plus a crazy storm front was moving in and I wanted to get done and home before the rain started. After I did all my stalls, I decided it would be a good opportunity to lunge Dino in the chambon. 

Despite what seems to me like the slowest progress ever, my pony is actually getting stronger and fitter. He worked so much better on the lunge than he did when I first spun him around a couple weeks ago, and was quite happy to stretch over his topline at all three gaits. I also got to see the super-walk he's been giving me under saddle, and Dino is over-tracking by a good 3 hoofprints! I think I'm going to make Fridays official lunging days, and incorporate more lunge work into his fitness plan for this spring. 

Saturday was absolutely GORGEOUS - sunny and 70's! I have the barn again on Saturday mornings, but the sun gives me such a great energy boost that I was able to accomplish a ton of stuff. I did all my stalls, fed, and built a new grid all before bringing my pony in to groom and tack up. Unfortunately the horses didn't get to go out since all of the fencing was being fixed up (yay!) so they were a bit perturbed by that situation. 

I finally put up the trot pole - x - two stride - oxer - one stride - vertical grid that I've been wanting to try. Sorry, no photo of that one since I am a dummy and forgot. The oxer was 2'3 and I ended up making the vertical at the end a crossrail, just to keep things simple and inviting for Dino the first time schooling the exercise. I left the single crossrail and vertical in the ring as our warm-up fences, and popped the vertical up a hole. 

Our flat warm-up was a pretty simple walk-trot-canter affair, focusing more on getting loose and forward and moving off my leg rather than doing any hard-core dressage stuff. We did a super fun hand-gallop too, which had me grinning like a fool as my pony zoomed around. He is such a blast! Once Dino felt ready to roll, we jumped the warm-up X a couple times, and then the vertical. He was SUCH a good boy when I asked him to put in an extra stride to the vertical at the last second, and did what I asked even though he ended up knocking the rail with his front legs since I basically asked him to jump from underneath the fence. The next time around I adjusted my canter to be more bouncy, and he jumped it perfectly. When I measured the vertical after our ride, it ended up measuring 2'8 - definitely  higher than I thought! But such a good feeling to know that I am riding accurately and confidently enough that it's no big deal. I'm definitely able to get that "sweet spot" canter a lot easier lately. 

After a short break, we attacked the grid. Dino definitely bounced the one-stride the first time through. Yeah. That was fun. I gave him a minute to walk and process, and then we went through again. He put in a scrambly stride in the one, but he was starting to figure out how to jump roundly over the oxer instead of long and flat. Each time I gave him some time to think about the exercise before trying it again, and I think it made a big difference in his confidence level and understanding of what he needed to do. After riding the grid several times, I do think the one stride was set just a bit too tight for Dino at this point in his fitness, so I will probably move it out a couple feet the next time we jump. He also had some lovely moments in the canter and trot after landing from his fences - I love how jumping gives him purpose and he is so much more willing to work on the flat after he gets airborne! One of these days I'll have to get hubby out to the barn to take some video of us. 

Yesterday I was up bright and early at 5am to head into Philly to run the Gift of Life Donor Dash 5K. I ran with Rachel and her family in memory of her dad who suddenly passed away a few weeks ago after receiving a heart transplant. It was another beautiful sunny day, and we had SO MUCH FUN. The atmosphere of the event was incredibly positive, supportive, and full of energy. I had an amazing time supporting one of my best friends and her family, and the Dash was totally worth being completely exhausted by the end of the day. It was also my first 5K ever, and I think I'm hooked. I really want to run another race! 

So, so over-tired. Past the point of no return on the ride home.

And THAT was my Weekend of Awesome. How was your weekend?!


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