With it being Boyfriend's birthday yesterday, I didnt want to conflict with his birthday evening (he isnt always very happy about my consistent late hour in coming home. If its not school, then its Milo causing my absence, so I wanted to give him my whole evening) so decided to see Milo on my lunch hour. While not the extended one that Im previledged to on Mondays, I figured an hour would still give me adequate time to groom or lunge if desired, or a small ride with minimal grooming. I opted for the later as Milo has only been ridden once this week, and that was on Tuesday, since on Monday I only lunged and groomed.
I made it to the barn with 45 minutes left. It wasnt near as quiet and serene as on Monday, due to the cleaners preping the facility for this weekend's cleaning overhaul. My favorite of the two cleaners was sweeping dust from the rafters and walls, meaning whiteboards, clocks, and other items normally on the walls were propped on the ground. This sweeping up high on a ladder bothered Milo, as it had once before when we came into the aisleway when he was sweeping rafters and walls. This time though, Milo didnt gawk at him with his head skyward and his position threatening a backward retreat, he instead just snorted a bit and raised his head. We walked right up to him, he was sweeping right where my tack box is located. I clipped one cross tie to Milo's halter, and ran the lead rope through the other in case there was a pull back incident. Milo didnt care though for the brief time we were in there, simply watched the cleaner as he swept dust down upon us, even resting a hind foot.
I stripped the blanket and threw on the bareback pad, skipping the grooming session. Never fear through, I still ran my hands over his body, legs, and picked up his feet, and all was well. Slipping the bridle over his ears, we hastened to the arena.
Only a fellow boarder was riding, Thursdays are the trainers day off so no horses were being worked. I checked the clock as I climbed aboard, 35 minutes left. Thats a fair amount of time to get some work in still, so my energy calmed down, allowing me to loosen up my body and focus.
Milo needed some butterflying at C to get him loosened up, attentive, and comfortable back in the Lifter bit. Within a few of those, he was moving off my leg, loosening up his whole body and becoming responsive to my cues.
I went on to work on finding my neutral pelvis, zig zagging around the arena in makeshift serpentines, avoiding the other boarder. We never really connected again until after the boarder left, but after she did I could feel that difference when he engaged him hind again and lifted me right up. On a loose rein at a trot, he was moving properly and our backs were mirrored. Together again, I moved him onto our figure eights. I have to say Im getting quite proud of myself - I can make very even circles now without the aids of cones. I used to be terrible at this and my circles would constantly be shifting all around. Now, I think, combined with the body control Milo and I are both developing, it helps maintain a fluid symmetry.
He was moving beautifully, arcing, counter arcing, changing direction, hip out, hip in. I was really proud of the both of us; his concentrated and flowing movement, my ability to actually achieve that through my own body - it was great.
I trotted him out of the figure eight on a straight line then stopped. I fenced a little bit at the trot, throwing in a rollback here and there. He was responding very well. Time was up now, I needed to get him groomed and put away. I slid off his back and patted him. What a good Milo. Time constraints denied me the opportunity to lope, but even when I rode on Tuesday I avoided that route. Not out of fear, but I want to maintain a good degree of control over my neutral seat, and want to make it second nature before trying at the lope again. Its far too aparent that I lock down at the lope, so if at the slower gaits I can get myself consistently free with an open hip angle, that shoudl help translate into the lope work. Today I have a lesson with Sarah, but on her horse Wesley, to help me develop how to neutralize my seat at the lope, without having to try this on my horse when we have other things to be working on - my brain goes into overload trying to process everything at the lope on him. If I can forget about the horse (ie, riding Wesley) then I can focus on finding that key to unlock my body.
I spent a few minutes with the shedding blade to Milo, and he was much more calm about the cleaner in the rafters now. I tossed the blanket across his back, then lead him back down to his pasture, giving him the apple core from my lunch. I could get too used to this!