So I guess I'll have to summarize again!
Training ride - focusing again on transitions. Max has been feeling a bit stuck during the canter transitions to the right so we tried to work on spiraling in and out into canter departs, as well as serpentines that include some quick canter transitions to trot, back to canter.
Got to the barn with training in mind..but as I was tacking up Max, a boarder walked in and asked if I'd like to head up the road with her and take a loop around. I couldn't say no. We warmed up a bit in the arena and then headed out up this really steep road. At the end of the road is a large spanish-style barn with a couple of cows, a horse and a bull! This was as far as her horse would venture, so we turned around and headed back. A nice peaceful ride, with the sun setting around us.
Since it was turkey day, there was practically no one at the barn. So I decided to be brave and head out to the big fields at the top of the hill by ourselves. It turned out to be the funnest time. Max was brave and willing and pretty much had no hesitation. As we entered the field I started with a short gallop up the hill where we came across a flock of vultures feeding on a deer carcass. It smelled so bad, and the vultures were hopping and flapping about. Max had a few looks but never paused a step and plowed past them.
Max loves it!
Then we rode down the big hill, turned around and did a nice open gallop all the way up! Then back down again, over a muddy bridge (a small balk), across another field, and down a big hill with a very large, very muddy puddly spot. Max did a pretty big balk there, but after a few encouraging words (and nudges), he bravely crossed it!
Muddy feet with Minimal Drama!
At the end of the hill was a paved driveway that apparently Max has never stepped on before. I wish I had a picture because as we crossed it, he was so very careful - stretching his nose down for a closer look! What an amazing time we had, and it made me so much more thankful for having this special horse in my life.
I was extremely excited for today because my old trainer from the other barn agreed to meet me at my current barn for a lesson in the evening!! Squeeee!!! She's the nicest person!
However the weather was uh-mazing, so I headed to the barn early to squeeze in an outside ride. I got there and it was pretty quiet so I was anticipating a solo ride. However after warming Max up, I hear a clop clop clop behind me and yet ANOTHER boarder introduces herself and asks if I'd like to ride out. She seemed very happy to have someone to ride with, so this time I chose the route!
We headed up the big hill again, this time from the other way. I suggested to trot up and she seemed okay with it. We trotted up and her horse started to canter. I asked if she wanted to head back down the hill and let them run up. She agreed (I really like this lady!) - and we had a jolly time galloping our horses up the big hill!
After that she seemed to open up and suggested we head into the cross country field. YES!!! I've been wanting to do more stuff there since Max seems a bit jumpy on his own out there. So we took the 'scary' route in , walked all around and even splashed through the water crossing a few times. Wow.
Then she turns around and asks if we wanted to run up the x-country field. I was like..sure, and she TAKES OFF! lol!! I got Max going and it was a super fun gallop up a hill, and halfway around the field!!
She seemed to want to keep riding, so I suggested we go on another loop around another set of paddocks. That was super fun and we ended our ride after that..because heck...I had a lesson in a couple of hours!
I put Max back in his turn-out field with a few carrots and some hay and headed home for lunch. After a quick meal, my dearest husband and I drove back up to the barn for the lesson. I was beside myself with excitement!!
Boy this is turning into a huge post...but I guess if anyone gets bored they can just skip to the video below ^.^
Anyway, it was So nice to see J again. I missed her so much! We chatted a bit, then started working. She fixed a few things in my position - keep knees more open than calves. Then she had me do an exercise where I'd take my whole leg off Max and pop them back down in both trot and canter departs.
Remember how I was saying he felt stuck the last few canter departs to the right? Well, with her adjustments, this was our FIRST canter depart to the right:
More adventures for the weekend : Lesson with a jumping trainer tomorrow, and hopefully a ride out with a trail master on Sunday!