I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Our Christmas was great, and Lilly and I got some really nice gifts that I can't wait to use! Now that Christmas is over, though, I'm ready for spring!
Despite my lack of posting, I've actually been quite busy with Lilly! I rode on Monday and then again yesterday and we had a great ride both times. I was able to ride with two other riders both days, which was a nice change. Usually we ride alone! There's also another boarder coming to the barn today, assuming her horse arrives from Canada on time. She's a veterinarian, so I'm thinking that could have some perks!
Our ride on Monday was great. Lilly is doing really well on the things we've been concentrating on, which include staying round, getting off her forehand, and rating her speed. We worked on some transitions and I've been working her off the rail quite a bit. She gets a little drunk when she doesn't have the rail to follow, but she's been improving a lot.
A boarder friend of mine let me borrow a western saddle she's had for quite a while. I decided I'd try the saddle on Lilly and see how she does, hoping it would fit so I'd have something western to ride in until I find a saddle I want to purchase. When I put it on, it looked like it fit, but I knew I'd have to ride in it to know for sure.
Tuesday it poured rain for most of the day and half the arena was under water, so Wednesday we moved one of the horses into the barn and rode in his pasture. The pasture is a pretty good size, but it's also a bit sloped, so I thought the hills might be a bit tiring for Lilly. I tacked up with the western saddle and off we went.
At first, Lilly was quite fast. There were two other horses with us and I think she thought we were going on a trail ride, so she was working hard to get in front. Both of these horses are Thoroughbreds and one of them raced, so she's outgunned no matter how you slice it. You can't tell her that, though! Once we started working and doing circles, she settled right in and was PERFECT.
If you're new-ish to the blog, you might not have read all the stories about what a challenge Lilly can be when we're with a group of horses. She gets very attached and must go where they go, for fear she'll be left behind. If she doesn't get to go, she will lose her mind. I've been working on this A LOT, but haven't had much of an opportunity at this new barn because we always end up riding by ourselves.
The western saddle started out okay, but the more I worked her, the more I started noticing little things here and there. She didn't want to bend at all and she started getting really stiff and heavy on her forehand. I decided the saddle just didn't fit her properly and took it off about half way through our ride. We rode bareback the rest of the time and I was so proud of how well she did.
I was riding her in a western bridle and I was using a dog bone snaffle with shanks. I've ridden her in it before, but it's been a while. She seemed to like it and happily went around on a loose rein and actually jogged around the pasture. We cantered a bit too, and she was such a good girl!
At the end of the ride, the three of us stood down by the water chatting, and when we were done, the two other girls turned their horses to head back up to the barn. I had Lilly's reins draped over her shoulders and I never touched them while the other horses left her. She stood completely still, quite calm, and relaxed until I asked her to walk back up to the barn. I can't tell you how excited I was about that! :)
Hopefully we're back into our routine now that all the craziness is over. She's still pretty out of shape and I want to get back to the exercises we were doing before December came along. She's making so much progress that I'm excited to see how well she does with more consistent work. I wish we had a western saddle, but that will have to wait for now.
In other news, I'm getting information about a trimming clinic in February. If all goes as planned, I'll be taking Lilly with me to the clinic and I am SUPER excited.