Fridays have been very quiet at the barn since lessons were cancelled. Because of this, I planned on doing a 2 hour ride, walk trot intervals. I don’t know what was up with Bentley, but he was a little wiggle-worm underneath me. He certainly made me work at keeping him straight and keeping a decent rhythm. I would have to say, it took an hour and 40 minutes before he settled down and was ready to perform . By then, my legs were aching! We did get 10 minutes of good work done however before our usual 10 minute coolout.
Saturday we went for an hour-long walk in the snow with Laura and Kirsten while I was on my lunch break. They trotted around a bit in the fields before we hit the Diamond Ridge trails. We also tried some trotting however Bentley was still hyper and wiggly, and clearly wanted to buck. Following my usual approach, if he isn’t willing to behave himself, I am not going to let him have his fun. I didnt want to end up with snow down my pants! Laura and Kirsten were happy I came with them, as I sort of knew the trails and could lead us around. I was happy they let us join them and keep it slow! Bentley was spooking more than usual at what of course appeared to be nothing, but one time was a rabbit crossing the trail in front of us. Ok, I gave him that. We also can call him the snowplow now too, because we went first through a chest deep bank of snow once and cleared it for the other horses. Yay! Fun!
Yesterday the temperature rose and snow fell, making me suspicious of the footing out back. I decided not to ride on my lunch, but ride after work instead. I figured I was going to have to ride in the arena regardless, so it was better to let him enjoy his turnout and ride when there wasnt work to get back to. considering his lack of focus in the previous 2 rides (and perhaps his newfound hatred of me because of clipping) I didn’t want to have any time constraints.
Well I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did he not hate me when I entered, but he gave me extreme amounts of snuggles. Tacking up was good too, I was worried about girthing because his fur was a little abrasive now that its short. He was good, but he does seem to be interested in girthing recently. This started before the clip, when I do up the girth, he turns his head around and watches me. At first I worry he’s going to nip me, but he always has a pleasant expression. Sometimes he nibbles at the billets as if hes trying to figure out how they work. Not sure if he’s thinking “let’s get this on me and lets ride” or “hmm, i should undo this and make the saddle vanish” Lets pretend its #1. Oh and funny thing, with all that hair missing… we went up another whole notch on the girth.
His ride went beautifully, clearly no grudges were held. Actually, it was the best ride we have had in a long time. We started our work by spiralling in and out. After that we did canter work, and did a bit of spiraling in and out at the canter also (of course, I only did the 2 loose circles, not the tight one!) From there we did half serpentines – and by that I mean the serpentines went from the boards to the centreline… nice and tight! He did well, but sometimes got distracted by the other horses in the ring (who decided the one corner was scary, and then convinced Bentley they were scary… he didnt spook at anything til they did!) We finished with leg yielding, which I didnt have high hopes for. He has been very bad at it recently, barely moving sideways or instead trying to run/canter. Well he seemed to have his head on straight this time and performed wonderfully! We eventually got up to doing them to and from the wall, and even changed direction along the diagonal by leg yielding only. Beautiful! I hope this horse shows up more often 🙂