Got back into Vermont late Sunday night, and after a staff meeting first thing, I headed over to the barn to see Tris.
Report back from the barn manager was that he had been an exemplary lesson pony, if a bit tired at the 40 minute mark. I’ve been focusing on getting a good ride and then being done, so rarely went beyond 40 minutes. It was good for him to work that hard, I’m sure.
While I was away, I stopped at Dover Saddlery and picked up a new sheepskin half pad
. It fits his back nicely and I think it will do the job. It’s got plenty of padding, for all that it was one of the less expensive on the list.
I put on his bridle sans reins, his surcingle over his new half pad, and unpacked the chambon
that arrived in the mail while I was gone.
We longed on a similar schedule as last time: 3 minutes each side, warming up at the walk and then trot, then a bit of canter, without poles. Then I attached the chambon and asked him again for walk and trot both direction, and a bit of canter.
On the plus side: he was going really well! He was moving out, stretching down, chewing, and engaging. On the minus side…none of that was due to the chambon, which needs about eleventy billion more holes to be adjusted for his weird size. So mostly today served to get him used to wearing it, without it ever engaging.
I was really happy with the way he worked, overall, and very glad to see him again.
eta: I am an idiot who totally forgot to add in the most fun part of longeing today, which was that after we finished our circles I trotted him over a very small 2′ vertical that was set up from a previous lesson in the ring. As soon as he saw the jump he locked on, went straight for it, and jumped it beautifully. We did twice in each direction, and it was amazing to watch him hunt out the jumps and hold a beautiful canter after them. Tiny baby steps!