The snow from last weekend's storm has been rapidly melting, and when my barn buddy suggested we get permission to haul over to the indoor at my trainer's former home barn, I was 1000% on board with that idea! I made some calls, brandished my shovel to free Lil' Dynamo, and on Saturday morning we headed over to do some flatwork on a flat, dry, non-snow-covered surface. I was PUMPED.
|Lil' Dynamo is FREEEEEEEE!|
Luckily for us, the barn was pretty empty when we arrived, and we got the whole arena to ourselves. Luxurious!
Dino was feeling GREAT, and aside from some hairy-eyeballed glances at barn staff clearing snow and moving hay, he buckled right down to work. I spent a long time warming up at the walk and just stretching him out, waiting for his back to start swinging and his hind legs to come under before doing anything more strenuous. Shoulder-fore and shoulder-in were my secret weapons of the day, and I really like how both movements helped to get Dino straight and pushing up from behind.
Despite some initial cranky faces when I asked him to trot, WonderPony popped up agreeably into the next gait and stretched nicely into the bridle. He did, however, let me know early on that he was not quite ready for so much bending and flexing, giving me a little sassy tail swish when I put my inside leg on too strongly for his tastes! As he warmed up, Dino became more and more agreeable, and soon was giving me some really fantastic trot work and easily changing bend and performing little leg yields here and there.
The first few canter departs were full of sass and threats of bucking, which was pretty cute. Dino kept popping his hind end up as if to say, "I'm gonna buck! I'm gonna do it! If you get after me about this canter depart, I'm gonna buck you right off!" For the record, he didn't. The canter was a bit of a hot mess, and definitely where our lack of recent riding showed the most. Dino locked his neck up tight and never quite came through over his back. But he was quite forward, which was a victory in and of itself!
We moved on to work on transitions within the trot - working to lengthening and back - and some counter-bending, shoulder-in, and leg yields down the long side. Dino was working really, really well for me, and I was actually pretty pleased with what I saw each time we passed a mirror. The canter did improve as the ride went on, and we were able to end after Dino finally unlocked the base of his neck and cantered through and over his back for about half a circle each way. With that, I declared him done for the day!
I felt so accomplished and productive after that ride, and really pleased that while we are both lacking in fitness, we aren't quite as rusty as I feared we were. I can't wait to go back to the indoor on Tuesday afternoon to do a little jumping!