Mud mud mud mud mud. I am so unspeakably tired of rain and mud. It's just not safe to ride right now, because I don't have a sand arena to ride in. Just ... mud. Non-grassy mud or grassy mud, take your pick. Eight inches of it. Even Apollo's stall is mud.
Seriously, this rain has got to stop. Send it to California or Idaho! They need it! We do not. We are flooding.
I suppose I could be tack walking, but honestly, I'm not sure even that is safe. I do not in any way want to jeopardize Apollo's hooves, tendons, ligaments, stifles ... anything. I suppose just walking is workable. Maybe. If it's safe, if it's not too slippery, at least walking will build muscle. Apollo needs more push behind, and it's purely a strength thing.
So all that said, I did haul Apollo up to New Teacher's place yesterday and over that initial weekend. We had a ball over that weekend, even though it was (say it with me) RAINING. Apollo was very good, I sort of remembered how to ride, and we got to hang out with NT and her buddy the saddle fitter. I'd known her buddy from CotH, and I'd always thought she was engaging, so I was glad to meet her too. Anyway, NT and I worked on regularity, push from behind, and bend on the flat, and we worked on reminding my body how to ride over jumps. Yknow, basics like line, pace, speed. Important stuff like that.
Yesterday, we continued work on my position. Mostly keeping my leg on and heel down. I think that's the thing we all need to work on most, the thing we hear from our teachers most often! We worked back and forth in a figure 8, trotting over a vertical with placing poles. It was first set around 2'3 and then NT raised it as I settled in and Apollo got moving. Much with getting him ahead of my leg in the trot, too. NT decided that I'm confirmed and no problem over 2'3-2'6, so she nudged us out of the comfort zone and put the fence up to 2'9-3'. No real problem, but I have to work my leg even better at that height, because Apollo has a nice bascule over fences. Straightness is an issue, too - this will start getting better as both horse and rider get stronger and jump a bunch more jumps.
We moved to doing a much smaller outside line, which pointed out the straightness thing and reminded me that I have to keep him going and going to really have the impulsion and energy we need. Then NT added in a last vertical off a short right turn. Suddenly leads were important! Also, that last vertical had a dry Christmas tree under it to brush it out a bit, and this conversation ensued:
NT: Does he care about brush or fill or anything like that? Some horses care, some don't.
Me: Well, he might, but I'm going to sit in the back seat and say JUMP! when we get there, and he should.
NT: Good! Do it!
And I did, and he did. :) He took a hard look at it before the fence and in the air - I think that peeking through the knees thing is pretty hilarious - but he jumped it no questions asked. We could have stood to be much straighter and have picked a better line, but we got that sorted out in the end.
The best part of the lesson was honestly the fact that we had both improved since that first weekend. I find that a little surprising, just because we haven't been able to ride much, but I'm pleased.
I also hauled Apollo up and back ALL BY MYSELF. No help. Rawk! I didn't get the Hook Trailer Up achievement, but still. This is the first time I've ever hauled by myself. I even had to stop for gas. :D And back up. Nothing was damaged, no mailboxes taken out, nothing. Hehehehe.
So ... yeah. Right now, my world is mud. And my riding pasture has been taken over by a couple of horses, so even if I had an arena, I couldn't ride. Unless the arena had a fence, which would be ideal. With any luck, I'll get a few rain-free evenings this week to at least walk Apollo and tell myself that slogging through the mud slowly is good for his muscles. If not ... well, there's always horsey situps and calisthenics.