So I had a timeline plan for today;
- 7am - get up and let the horses into the paddock, and do the yards, hay,water etc
- 8.30am - back inside for porridge and coffee and a shower
- 9.30am - hook the car up (I loaded the float yesterday) and stick on the new registration sticker
- 9.40am - get Maraschino in for a play session - more rope tossing - he was so much better today!! We also did some porcupine 360s on the FQ and HQ, actually 365degrees, as Pat says it makes a difference if you go past the spot your started on.
- 10.10am - groom Garbo - he had come in when I got Maraschino and had been waiting very patiently tied up next to us playing (rope flinging and all).
- 10.15am - load Garbo - he went on straight away with me outside the float - I still have to pinch myself!!
- 10.18am - give Maraschino a big bucket of lucerne forage, beet and chaff and apples and carrots!!
- 10.25am - we're off - it's a 20 minute ride, but a nice drive and quite easy.
I had to visualise Maraschino being calm and safe during the drive to Waimarie so that I was calm so I could enjoy the ride. Once I was there I didn't worry at all.
Garbo got off the float (he's never been there before) and he was very keen to look around and also to eat the long grass nearby. He didn't call out or look agitated though, as he would have 2 years ago at a new place with no horses in sight.
Soon after that, while we were saddling up, Bronwyn and Critey arrived and we left them to it while they saddled up and headed on down to the arena for some online work - omg it was so good to be in an arena again - no mud and lots of space - fabulous. Garbo was pretty excited at all the new sights - as you can see - there is a lot to look at for a horse in this arena.
We started with travelling circles at trot and then played touch it on the edges of the arena and the corners just on case there was anything spooky over the edges - better to see it now rather than spook later when I am on board! He was quite energetic and pleased to be moving I think. He looked like he was having a ball. We then did some changes of direction and sideways - all on the end of the 22ft and he didn't put a foot wrong! I was so pleased.
I decided to put my helmet on, and his hackamore on and I hopped on board. He stood still while I got on and we started with follow the rail at walk. By this stage Bronwyn and Critey had joined us and it was great to still have loads of space- such a big arena there.
It's been quite a while since I rode in an arena (and two months since we rode) and this one has a really good surface (the one at Royal Oak was quite hard) and I had forgotten how nice Garbo is to ride on a flat surface as opposed to a paddock with lumps and bumps. He prefers it too (even though arenas have not always been his favourite place). We also played corners and then I asked for trot. He lifts up into trot now and it's so nice to ride like that. On the short side (which is about 60ft long at least) he stuck his head down and bucked - I know it's coming now so was ready with a one rein stop and I asked for trot again but this time we did more transitions. We also did some direct rein turns in walk after each downwards transition.
Bronwyn wanted to do some canter work so at this point I realised I didn't have a plan so changed that right away and decided we would do figure eight pattern. Garbo was great - I was really just using my body to turn and there was no opposition reflex - just goes to show what he can do when he is motivated and enjoying himself.
Then we did some sideways and Bronwyn wanted to know how we did it (our way) so I showed her and she tried to and got it. Then I showed her the position of putting your palm on your horses rump while you ride so we both did that for a while giggling away as we twisted. Then I introduced peddling as well and once I did Garbo put his head down and relaxed into the walk really nicely.
Now for the funniest part - an hour was up so I got off but misjudged the ground distance and fell on my bum as I landed on the ground. Garbo turned his head and neck and looked down at me as if to say "what on earth are you doing down there?" - then he started licking my knee and hand (I think he was looking for treats). Sweet.
He loaded a little reluctantly but when I say that I mean he waited 30 seconds, taking one last look around, and on he went. On the drive home I started to wonder how Maraschino was doing. I started my affirmation again on the way home.
I drove towards the gate and saw him way off in the distance head down eating. He looked up but didn't come running over.
I unloaded Garbo and took him back in - Maraschino just kept eating!! I was so pleased.
I saw about one or two lines of pogs where he's probably had a little run, but no race tracks round the outside or anything. I plan to go again next week.