In early January, Trainer left the cold, snowy Midwest to go on a much-needed and well-deserved vacation. While we’re up here dealing with wild temperature swings and so much mud, she’s down in Florida enjoying the sun and palm trees. I’m not quite sure what she was thinking… but she left me somewhat in charge of all of her horses (you know, in conjunction with barn management #thankgoodness). So I’ve been a busy, busy girl taking care of 4 horses these last several weeks.
Luckily, turnout is for the most part taken care of and I only have to worry about indoor turnout for Miles and Vinnie every other day during inclement weather. The amazing barn staff has added Moiya and Diamond to their everyday turnout list, regardless which has been a HUGE help. My other saving grace has been that I only ride two out of the four horses — Diamond and Vinnie are on winter vacation too, so they just need grooming and attention. It’s still a lot of work though!
Miles is still on a light workload schedule, as I mentioned a few weeks ago. He’s been really good and I think my 1-2 rides per week, plus a session in the Pessoa is going swimmingly. I’m working on a variety of things in preparation for show season. I’m hoping to show in some more equitation classes in 2017, so I’ve been working on getting Miles going in a more compact frame with a shorter rein and smoothing out our sitting trot. We do a lot of back and forth between different frames and seats through all of our gaits. Earlier in the week I set up the circle of near-death with ground poles (apparently it doesn’t become the circle of death until you do it with jumps, haha). I thought it would be quite difficult with Miles, but we nailed the exercise! We were able to do a larger circle and a smaller stride to get four strides between each, and then a smaller circle with a more forward canter to get three strides between each ground pole. It wasn’t the prettiest or the most balanced, but for Miles and I, it was really good!
Moiya has taken on a bulk of my winter riding, and I’ve ridden her about 4-5 times a week. She’s loving the attention and having a consistent job, I think. With her, I’m working on perfecting our leg yields and I hope to add in shoulders-in and haunches-in once Trainer returns. We do a lot of adjustability, especially in the canter and she’s even letting me practice my sitting trot! Last weekend we did an amateur jump school with some friends, and we went through a small gymnastic, and a few singles at 2′ or 2’3″. Moiya was excellent, and put up with my slightly-off distances with class. She’s such a wonderful mare!
If you follow me on instagram, you already know this — but my trainer’s personal mount, Vinnie, is back! He goes home each winter for some time off, but came back to the barn so Trainer could enjoy her time in Florida. I leased Vinnie for several years when I first started riding with Trainer and he has a special place in my heart, so I was thrilled to see him again! I think he managed to be at the barn 4 hours before I attacked him with clippers and shaved his face. He’s a wooly mammoth right now, but luckily he hasn’t been too filthy for me to clean up; plus he’s got the best coat genetics of any horse I’ve ever met, so when I do groom him, he looks phenomenal!
Last but not least, my final charge is Diamond. She is the sweetest mare, and is always the first to greet me when I come to the barn. I rode Diamond for about 6 months a few winters ago, but since then she’s been leasing during the summer to a barnmate. Our first few grooming sessions were a bit dicey — she’s quite sensitive (shocking), but once I got her a softer curry comb, she was much happier. She loves her time at the Beavers’ Equine Spa and I think she will be a tiny bit sad when her mom comes home! But only a tiny bit because she loooooves Trainer. Loves her.