Today was an interesting day. I noticed that Fleck is backing off a little bit as far as being mean to Dan. Like, when I open Dan's stall door... usually I have to hold Fleck back and let Dan come out, but lately Fleck has been waiting. I'm not sure if it's cause he's gotten used to me making him wait or if he's letting Dan take charge. I hope not! I need you to get my back Flecky!!! Although the other day I forgot and left Dan's door open and Fleck helped himself into Dans' stall to eat his food. But anyways, regardless, Dan has been getting a bit ruder about putting his head in my personal space with his ears pinned and cranky face. Unfortunately today I'm pretty sure that when I was taking his blankets off.. he clacked his teeth near my face. Um... NO SIR!!!! I smacked at him and then chased him with a stick... Of course he was naked at this point and it was literally 30 degrees, so I'm sure he was frisky. But still. NOT ALLOWED. So.. tonight forth will be zero tolerance again. When will I learn? Anyways... I went to Keysville and worked on 8 horses and then headed home. I had to stop and check things because... our beach trip in January... apparently they closed the beach!! I found out as I was leaving Keysville. NOOOOO. I'm so bummed. And then I had to stop and get cat food and dog food... and Christmas cards. And then traffic. I had talked to Beanie about a lesson as a possibility tonight but at this rate it was going to be 6 pm before I got home. So... I left it up to her. I really was thinking I didn't want to ride. It was cold.. It was going to be dark soon. I had had a long day... But on the flip side... Dan clearly needs to be ridden... and while I was going to get to ride tomorrow, I wasn't sure about Saturday.. and Sunday was supposed to be raining... So.. maybe I did want to ride.
Luckily she said "let's do it", so... we did. Unfortunately the lights in the dressage arena were broken so Lucy told me I had to ride in the jump arena. Which actually turned out to be super helpful as we were able to use the poles to do some fun stuff. Except it was dark when we got there and I had to tack up in the trailer light. Which... there isn't a light on the side of the trailer... just in the inside and on the back, so.. it was a little tough. But it worked. Dan was a little up, as it was also super cold!! Like 37 degrees. So we used Beanie's phone flashlight and walked up to the jump field and turned on the lights. Dan was super!! He settled and was so good. We started off our ride with a stretchy walk, then a stretchy trot, and then a stretchy canter. And.. he was so good. He started out really reaching down and stretching over his topline. And breathing! Beanie said that he looked great and when he breathes and reaches over his back his outline changes beautifully. He felt good. So then we got started. We picked him up and started cantering and tried the counter canter. Yeah... we started on the right lead. And I don't know if it's because we were in the jump arena or what, but I could not keep him on the right lead counter canter to save my life. Even when I just tried to canter counter canter around the edge of the GIANT arena. Sigh.. I'm chalking it up to the fact that he's trying to be a good horse and be on the correct lead in the jump ring as opposed to realizing I was asking for it, like with the counter canter 3 loop serpentine. I wonder if I did the serpentine movement if he would have held it???? Anyways... we abandoned that ship after I got a short stint of counter canter. It took me asking for the counter canter from the walk for him to realize that's what I wanted and he held it... for a little bit at least. :) Doh!! So then we did a fun grid thing. She made a square of poles but they were spaced out. So you could do a 10 meter circle on the inside but you could weave in and out of the poles too. So we started trotting around them, then we did a 10 meter circle around each of the pole... like the cloverleaf kind of... So then we did it at the canter! Eeeks. That was hard. The trick was to keep him supple so he could stay forward. If he's tight or braced, he can't go forward. But she also told me to let him move slow... so he could sink down onto his hocks and rock back. And.. it worked!!! He did. :) So then we did the other direction too. Then the next step was to canter across the pole and bend over the next pole.. then skip a pole and canter across the pole and canter bendy line over the next pole... It was hard but it was helpful. The trick is to let him reach for it or shorten as the striding dictates but not to let him brace and not be supple. That was tougher. But we got some really nice ones. Yay!
So then we tried a flying change. We put a pole on the ground and I was canter in a forward but straight and SUPPLE canter. As he lifted off the ground for the canter pole, I was to swap my leg and seat aids. The first time.. nothing.. he cantered over it. The second time.. SUCCESS!! Clean change!! Whooo hooo! We praised him and told him he was super. Then we tried again.. and again... and again... and nothing. He would occasionally swap in front but not behind, but mostly he just cantered over it. Oh well. We quit after that as it was getting super cold and we weren't really getting through to him on what we wanted. I wonder if I had started doing figure 8's and doing simple changes if he didn't swap, if he would eventually figure it out and swap to avoid having the do the simple?? Maybe. Regardless, not a huge rush. I know it takes time.
So then we got home and fed and put on new clothes. I carried the whip and ... he was actually super! When I put his food in, I made him back up to the corner of his stall and stand there til I dumped it. And then later.. when I was putting Fleck's clothes on.. he stuck his head over the door and was being cute and sweet with his ears pricked.. not snarly. :) So.. we'll see. He was snarly when he was at the hay and I was checking to see if he was warm enough. Baby steps. ;)