During the ride, I felt Koda start to drift away from a certain corner in the yard by the driveway, I'm sure he was thinking there was something ready to jump out and eat him. My first reaction would be to just push him over and laugh it off saying "knock it off, there's nothing there". Instead, I went into a more reassuring rider/leader and still leg-yielding him over but using my body and voice in a more "it's ok!" tone... if that makes any sense at all. We did work down in that corner, just walk-trot transitions, staying steady, and making sure the circle was round :)
After doing this light warm-up, we tackled a very watered-down version of an exercise George Morris did with his students at the Mane Event in Red Deer.
Yes, I audited a clinic given by George Morris.
It was INCREDIBLE! Will do a post or two about the entire experience.
Now, back to our scheduled program.
The exercise was to jump a single fence and for the rider to do two things: set the tempo and rhythm of the stride several strides before the actual jump (aka stop picking at your horse before the jump and relax!) and focus on your hands, specifically don't move unless to follow the horse's reach over the fence. Because of the how the yard is set up, I had two different approaches, a bending line off the left or through water/mud on the right. Not going to lie, on the approaches, I was a tad nervous since I really didn't want any bucking or yahoo-ing after the jump. To ease my nerves, we approached the jump at a trot and cantered after. It wasn't very big (cross rail that was less than 2' in the middle).
Bending line approach around the tractor (check out our "standards")
Mud puddle approach off the right
I shouldn't have worried, Koda was an absolute STAR, didn't put a foot wrong! Cantering through the mud, not a problem. Bending line? Got it handled. I settled in and relaxed in the exercise, but next time we do it, I want to repeat it until both of us (mainly me) relax completely. Koda was putting in a lovely effort over the fence and was showing his rideability particularly when we landed in the rather cramped end of the yard.
Modeling my new Riding Ninja polo!
Since Koda was trimmed last week, he's been a tad ouchie on his front feet (thin soles) so I decided to ice his hooves.
Small joys of still having snow on the ground, and Koda got a little drink at the same time
Not sure what we'll be doing in our next ride since the yard really isn't ideal to practise any dressage in, can only really fit one good 20m circle in at the bottom and a couple small serpentine loops... Will have to see what I can come up with for our next ride.