Both my 'S' friends were there again, and we had a few new additions as well. Unfortunately for me and my mini jump course, all the poles were quickly used up building a crazy trail course. I did have fun playing in there as well, so my disappointment was pretty short lived. We'll be back soon for a jump course.
We started out with a short lesson, and then moved on to the obstacles. I started with a line of cones (about 8) set 9' apart. The idea is to leg yield through them in a zig zag pattern. It really forces you to be precise with your aids because 9' isn't as much space as you'd think. Once we were successful at the walk, we moved up to trot. I started with every second cone and got it done although it wasn't pretty. Honestly, we never did go through perfectly at the trot - I ended up having to cheat a bit and let Midge lead a little more than idea with her shoulders. Still, good practice - I should be setting up stuff like that at home to keep us honest!
We moved on to a bunch of raised poles set in a figure eight pattern. Ideally, you'd canter them, but they were on maybe 10m circles, and there is no way Midge can do that! So we trotted and pony was champion of the trot poles.
Next up, we moved on to a 10' square box marked out by poles. The idea is to trot in, circle at a trot inside the box, and trot out. It's doable, but you really need excellent shoulder control. I suspect Midge could do it on a good day, but yesterday she was fairly distracted by all the goings on and managed 3/4 on our best try. Another exercise that I may bring back later because it really forces you to be precise. It's easy to think I'm getting it done in a bigger space, but when the boundaries are visually defined it becomes apparent we're pretty sloppy! I'll go back tomorrow and take some pics of the trail course - it's pretty cool.
After all the exercises involving discipline and control, it seemed an opportune time to let Midge have a good canter. She was a little stickier than she's been in the past couple of weeks, but I was pleased to get it done with minimal drama or sucking back. Unfortunately her big stampy feet (she sounds like a freight train!) spooked a friend's horse partway across the arena. We took that opportunity to go back to our mock flat class and did a lot of passing at the trot and canter, purposely cutting it a bit close. Midge was unsure, but settled in. Excellent practice for sure!