So tired of the 90+ degree heat . . . I know, it's only been a couple of weeks and I shouldn't complain, but hell, what is life without a little complaint.
Ashke was dozing outside in the sun when I got there. He was a little sweaty on his neck when I put him in the grooming stall. Silly horse. I spent a lot of time grooming him, since he is shedding like crazy and has lost enough hair that his face is light grey with gun metal grey around his eyes and muzzle. Even his ears are going grey. And his shoulder and neck.
I got the Sedona saddlebags attached to my saddle. N thinks the neon green is awesome. I would have like the blue better, but the bags are going to be perfect. I rode with them on the saddle yesterday, just to see how Ashke did and I don't think he even realized they were there. Even better, the water holders on each side will hold a large Nalgene water bottle, which makes both N and I very happy. Trying to ride with a camelbak has been really difficult - it may work with endurance riders, but it throws my balance off and Ashke doesn't like it.
We went to the big outdoor arena and I put out four cavaletti poles against the rail so we could work the horses over them. Ashke was favoring his right hip and short striding when I first started working him, so we went slow. Finally, he stretched out and walked, and we walked through the poles in both directions. I can tell when he is having issues with that hip, because he dings the poles. I also know that asking him to lift his feet is good for developing the muscles in his back and hip.
We trotted over the poles and it was a struggle to keep him from jumping or cantering over them. He was very collected at the trot and his leg yields were so much better. We also did some turning on the forehand, which he did very well. Then N and I took turns cantering in circles while the other one waited and watched from the inside of the circle. Ashke's canter to the left is approaching dreamy. It's smooth and not rushed, and I can maintain very light contact with his mouth without him trying to accelerate. To the right is getting better each time we ride. It is still a struggle for him, but he is getting stronger each time we canter and I was able to keep him at a canter without him rushing. N helped by coaching me in how to move my hands and how to apply leg to keep him moving that way.
We then left the arena and wandered around the grounds. The barn crew has been working on cleaning out the manure that was dumped around the dressage arena, cutting down the weeds and beginning to get the grounds into shape. The large hillocks of dirt and weeds were quite scarey to the horses. Hopefully, they will get the trash out of there pretty quick. We went up to the upper field and the horses were really spooky. We put them over the small jump - N went over twice and Ashke I went over once. He damn near jumped out from under me. I lost both stirrups, popped him in the mouth, even though I was in two point, with my hands up his neck. I only barely managed to stay on him by grapping the front of the saddle. I am not a jumper. I just don't get the timing.
We wandered back to the barn and unsaddled, then rinsed and put them away with carrots and an apple.
N should have her trailer registered by next week, so hopefully we can do a ride out one of these weekends!