After all the bitching I did about not having an arena in my last post, Nat and I had an awesome schooling session in our bottom paddock yesterday. Typical! :p
We tried Sprinklerbandit's warm up (or rather a modified non-arena based version with less leg yielding) and I was pretty proud of both girls as it was sprinkling with rain AND the guy across the road had his giant backhoe out and seemed to be trying to level out the gravel on the mouth of his driveway just as Nat was mounting up. BUT we just gave the girls a chance to prove that they could deal with it and they totally did. Barely noticed the stupid backhoe.
We set up some trot poles and a mini cross rail with our newly acquired jump set we bought from my friend (THANKS CASEY!) and they really enjoyed it! We put the trot poles just before the corner closest to the gate where both girls normally loose concentration and try to bend out towards the gate to go home to give them something else to concentrate on in the corner, and they both tried very hard with the poles. It was hard to decide the distance for the poles because Allie has such a big stride compared to Gracie so we made it on the smaller side for Al which made it on the bigger side for Gracie. They were both champs.
About 5 minutes into the warmup it started raining quite heavily and we could see the clouds moving quickly so we knew it would pass over soon so we took them back up the top and just sat on them under cover, which was a good thing for Gracie because she hates standing still and needs some practice.
After that, we went back and finished the warm up. I got some nice canter from Allie, and some lovely work over the poles and a few cute jumps but she quickly decided that the jump was too small to make the effort a ended up just trotting over it lol. AND she (accidentally) threw in a flying change!! We struck off on the left lead but going right, and I fully expected her to fall back to trot (which would have been fine) but before I could cue anything she just went HOP! and viola! We were on the right lead!! I was so shocked that I stopped riding so she stopped all together but I made a big fuss of her so hopefully she connected the dots. It felt amazing though and I was so proud of her. It felt totally different to the flying changes I used to ride on Beckham, the strung-out TB. I'm a bit proud, can you tell?
Nat has been having trouble schooling Gracie lately. She gets grumpy and pissy and Nat has had a couple of falls in the recent months from miss mare being a mole. She just seems to hate being ridden, and handled in general, which is sad. Nat got the vet out to do an exam and take bloods looking for hormonal stuff and anything else that could be medically wrong, and she came back clear ($400 later mind you). She hates being girthed up and we know 100% that she has NEVER had the girth done up too quickly because she has only ever been tacked up by us two, so that couldn't be why she kicks and carries on when the girth is done up. But she has a small wither and a broad back and can be quite rolly-poley so we are now mindful not to over tighten the girth and that seems to be helping. Nat also rode her in a new sheepskin girth cover (which she described to Gracie as "it's like having a fluffy bunny rabbit give you a cuddle!") as combined with the new warmup routine she went really sweetly and they didn't argue, Gracie didn't swish her tail nearly as much, wasn't so jacked up in front as she normally is and just looked like she was having a pleasant ride. :)
We had been to the saddlery just before we rode and I bought Allie a blue bonnet which we tried out during out schooling session. She looks super cute in it, this photo does not do it justice at all.