I'm beginning to think Ginger and I smell funny - once again we were the only ones at our Monday group lesson. We worked a lot on getting her to bend around my inside leg. Lately she's been getting smart and testing whether she can brace against me and pop her outside shoulder instead. Nothing too serious though, she's a very honest girl so some minor corrections are all that are needed. In this case, lots of 15m circles insisting on her getting that hind leg under, followed by some shoulder in on the quarter line. We actually managed to keep them quite straight and correct geometry wise, but the speed could have been more consistent. I'm happy because that's all hard work for her and it's only to be expected that she might have to rush now and then to keep her balance. I then proceeded to 'waste' the remaining 15 min of my lesson discussing plans for this winter and next summer. There are a couple of eventing clinics I'd like to be ready for early next spring, and a couple of dressage schooling test days we'd like to attend next April as well. So we discussed a plan of what I should be working on this winter. Obviously if I want to event, getting her out and about, especially on the trails is our main priority. Our dressage at this point should be more than adequate, our jumping is OK - she's very careful and honest but very green, so a little jump school once a week or so won't hurt to give us both some added confidence. The big gaping hole in our training is that Ginger has to learn that going out to new places, especially alone, isn't a big deal. I'm not sure how the girl who used to only trail ride has ended up with an arena baby!
As I was approaching the pasture gate to turn Ginger back out, I got a text asking if I wanted to go out for a trail ride with the girl in the next lesson. No time like the present, right? I tacked Ginger back up and back out we went. She was a little upset, because that is obviously NOT the normal routine, so she was calling a lot and being pretty spooky. I think we would have been fine once she settled in, but it wasn't safe behaviour when we were riding with a beginner rider in a very large open field. We quickly decided to pony Ginger off the quietest horse so I had an emergency back up rope attached! Ginger was a bit anxious about the horse ponying her but actually behaved quite well. No spooking on a 45 minute ride is probably some sort of record! She was quite forward and wanted to lead, but listening when I asked her to slow down, Beginner rider was going quite slow, with the odd unplanned stop to eat grass - excellent for Ginger's patience. Trainer girl was good about letting Ginger have a fairly long length of rope, so it was just me riding beside with an emergency stop available just in case :)
As an added bonus, it turns out Trainer Girl and her family also own the quarter section across the road. Since the hay has been cut, there's about 120 acres of hilly fields with small treed sections to ride in, with the remainder in cattle pasture to ride in if you're into that sort of thing. Ginger is fine with cows, so I imagine I'll leave them be and get out in the hay fields as much as possible before the end of summer. Can I mention once again how lucky I am to have found trainer girl? She's pretty excited about my plans to event Ginger and has offered to share expenses with me for clinics and schooling outings, since she always has a horse or two in training that would benefit from it. She's also got a mini cross country course ready for next spring!
"What about Lainey?", you ask. She's been leased by some very nice people at the barn who plan to show her in hunter/jumper shows this winter. They'd like to buy, but at this point I think a lease is best for all involved - not sure I'm ready to part with her quite yet! In the spring, we'll discuss whether they are going to buy or go back to a half lease so I can use Lainey for the odd show or clinic. It's a good solution for all, and I'm happy that Lainey will continue regular lessons with Trainer Girl this winter.
Giant field to ride in: