I hauled to Amy's for lessons with Letha today.
Brandy and Ari were both good ponies, I wasn't really wanting to jump because I feel totally out of shape and mostly pretty useless, and my ponies are out of shape and... basically I'm just unmotivated.
Anyway, Amy convinced me I needed to jump. I had a really good warm up on Ari, Amy told me he looked stiff and I remembered that he can stretch... guess we missed the long and low the last couple rides since he was busy doing tempis and bucking everytime I put my leg on. We did some lateral work... I need to do MORE when I ride because when he gets it, its good, but a lot of it is just half hearted. Anyway, he felt good in warm up and I think we got "the ride" several times jumping. I was still really "meh" about jumping as a whole today, but Amy set up some technical but not hard exercises that were a lot of fun and made me feel like we'd gotten something accomplished.
I rode him in the baucher today, wondering if he would like the stability. I still have issues with his head tossing out of old habit and it had all but disappeared in the happy mouth that I was riding him in and resurfaced after his lay off this summer because of the abscess. So now I'm trying to sort out what needs to happen to fix it. I've been working to make him more accepting of the bit and that has made a VERY LARGE difference, but I think there is some connection with his mouth. He will go in anything, but goes happily in only some things. His current dressage bit in a loose ring single jointed snaffle but I think I need a hair more for jumping. I probably need to try a single jointed happy mouth or maybe a single joint eggbutt. Oddly, I think he's happier in the single joint.
Anyway, Brandy was also good, she's really relaxing over her back and slowing herself down. She's beginning to reach for the bit as long as I can ride her from my leg. Amy's focus today was getting her to accept a connection from both hands, thinking about how slooooow we can go and pushing her shoulder over to make her "let go" through her body. Probably our best flat work we've had in a really long time, and frankly, she was great to jump. First time in awhile that it wasn't a struggle. I actually had several moments that all I had to do was sit up and she rebalanced herself, which is a big deal for her- usually she just pulls and gets lower. Our last fence was brilliant. She was pushing up onto the bit, I put on my leg on and had the "bungee" feel Amy always describes- adjustability! I've felt it and I know it really exists!
So anyway, I'm glad I went for lessons, I felt like I got a lot out of them considering its the middle of winter and we're all out of shape.
Both horses need a trace clip ASAP, but right now they're happy and naked and muddy and being "real horses" for one more day. Temps drop into the 30's tomorrow night so they'll be back in blankets. I ordered Ari's new sheet tonight- got a deal I couldn't resist. I'd decided to sell his current Rambo sheet moments before (75", no fill, attached neck, 2 seasons old, $200 if you're interested) and when I was trying to find a good price on a new one, I snatched a new Rambo Optimo for way less than retail. Lucky find, I guess! Love the design though, and optional liners. It comes with a 300g and I will probably buy him a 100g so he can have an in-between his medium and nothing at all.