Warmest Mother's Day wishes to all! I usually am not a big fan of Mother's Day. It's always been a big let-down for me. Yesterday wasn't starting out any better, kids were their usual selves, I had to break up the typical squabbles and clean up the messes. Then husband came home from early morning bike ride and banished me to the barn (smart man).
It would have been another nice day to head to the trails but I had no one available to ride with. I suppose I could try to ride it alone but I prefer a buddy because of the length of time spent riding on the road to get there. So we schooled at home in the large arena.
I board Monty at a very interesting place. It's owned by an equine veterinarian, who also has a boarding stable and hosts dirt polo matches in the large polo arena on his property. The polo arena is huge! The footing in it is quite good and before polo season starts, we have some jumps set up in there, too. Yes, I have watched some of the polo matches there and it's a wild game. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to try but I know my limits!
I decided to work Monty in a much stronger bit and work on his self carriage and response to the aids. He's a big horse and I don't have the upper body strength I used to. I can generally ride him in a 2-link D-snaffle with a copper bead join in the center but he can get heavy through his transitions and also when jumping. So I changed it up with a Myler full cheek with a twist mouth and copper roller in the center. (Monty has always been a horse with a somewhat dry mouth, I have been experimenting with copper, cypruim, Happy Mouth, etc. to find what he accepts well. I am a notorious bit buyer, especially from Ebay!) I have very good, sensitive hands and I prefer to only have to "suggest" what I want rather than having to "shout" and the stronger bit allows me that.
Monty was again on his best day-after-trail-ride behavior and we did a lot of cantering work and cantering over ground poles. He carried himself instead of me having to lighten his forehand and give as I usually do. After we did flat work and ground poles in the polo arena I rode him up to the smaller riding ring at the top of the hill behind the boarder's barn. I set up a cross rail there and tried a little jumping. Monty was good but after trotting the first one, his "motor got running" and I had to keep trotting the X-rail back and forth with a soft hand and contact release to get him quiet. (He hasn't jumped regularly since late last fall, so he anticipates the jumps when we start up again each spring) After about 6 or 7 times he settled and gave me a nice little jump and we ended with that. Always nice to end on a productive note! Thanks for the Mother's Day ride, Monty!
The evening was dinner at the local diner and husband, kids and I going to the movies to see Speed Racer. Fun movie, I always loved that cartoon as a kid! It was great to see the movie with my own boys! Go Speed Racer, Go!