We had been having beautiful, 60 degree temps, the mud was out in full force, I had taken Louie's winter blanket off, and I could work outside in a T shirt. Until yesterday. I got out to the barn to work Louie yesterday morning and it was below freezing out. The pasture consisted of chewed up mud craters filled with ice capped puddles. Louie's coat was fluffed up and his tail plastered to his butt. He was standing with his head burried in the middle of a round bale. It was 26 degrees out! Poor baby, he was cold- bad momma for taking his blankie!
Sandy met me at the barn and we worked Louie just walking and trotting with a few trotting poles/cavaletti at the end. Louie was full of P&V in this brisk weather. I was uncomfortable and not feeling my usual degree of security in a slippery new (old, but new to me) close contact saddle that Sandy had brought for me to try. It took a while to transform him from a saddle seat show horse to the hunter that he usually is, but after a warm up, he was moving around beautifully, Sandy noting an improvement since his adjustment as well.
After settling into our routine and me feeling just a bit more comfortable in the new saddle, we approached a ground pole at a posting trot. I figured we'd just trot right over it like it wasn't even there like we usually do. Quite the contrary- much to my suprise, as I reached for my *up* post over the pole, Louie sprung about 3 feet in the air, jumping over the pole like it was a 3 foot oxer. Woah, what was that? I had never felt Louie jump before and that was a bit of an uncoordinated last minute pounce that I sure didn't expect.
After that he improved dramatically, trotting over the trotting poles beautifully. He's really figuring out how to look at what's in front of him and plan and judge where to put his feet rather than just plowing through them haphazardly. At the end of the lesson, we approached a 6-8 inch high cavaletti/straight rail a few times from a trot. I rode in 2 point this whole time. Funny enough, Louie just trotted over the cavaletti rather than jumping it. That's okay, it probably wasn't high enough to actually be worth the effort to jump.
Overall he did great. Louie is moving really nicely and has got a great attitude with all of these poles that I have aimed him at. He's figuring it out- all in good time.