Mother Nature's tease of good weather continues here in the Willamette Valley. Just too nice to ride inside in the covered arena, in spite of its great footing. So I took Phantom outside. We did a "walkabout" on the property before heading to the outdoor arena where we did a little trot work before another walkabout to cool down.
Our outdoor arena is the original arena at the facility. It took a couple of winters for the developer of our boarding stable to get the covered arena built. Covered arenas are needed here in western Oregon primarily because of the rain. Lighting was provided, but after work in the dark and rain...uh, no way. We were all so glad when the covered arena went up giving us the option to ride out of the weather or enjoy the sun. The current owner has installed the greatest footing in our covered arena and it is fantastic. However, our outdoor arena is suffering and high on the list for new footing.
But the gravel doesn't seem to bother Phantom as long as he's shod. I longe him outisde so as not to interfere with training or lessons in the covered arena when weather permits. Today we did a little posting trot work to take advantage of the nice weather. We all know this dry spell won't last long and we'll be trapped in the covered arena for several more months.
It's been years since I've taken a lesson and it shows. My favorite trainer had to return to the "real world" of employment to make ends meet. The trainer presently working out of our barn is very good, but my finances haven't kept up with the cost of living. I have a list of riding "issues" that I need to work on and when I correct my problems Phantom responds well. Regrettably, our "on" moments are farther apart and of shorter duration any more. Definitely pilot error. Phantom isn't perfect, but if I don't fix the problem the responsibility lands in my lap.
I tend to slide over to the right side of the saddle, I get "squidgy" in the middle, my shoulders are uneven and I constantly drop my left hand lower than the right. Oh, and there's the whole pelvis tilt thing and lenght of leg contact. Phantom tends to push me to the right side of the saddle, especially at the canter. He tends to bulge his midsection to the right and tilt his nose to the left -- thus blocking his through movement. There were issues with his canter from day one, often going through a Mixmaster stage before settlling into a real canter. The canter work has improved considerably, but still takes work for both of us to settle into a good place.
*Sigh* It's not like I need to take lessons to compete in dressage. I competed my little mare in open hunter shows and I'm just not that into showing. But I would like to improve my skills and help Phantom do the best he can. Oh well, we'll see how life treats us this year. Maybe I can start taking a lesson once a month or every few months.
In the meantime, we'll enjoy our sunny days and look forward to summer.