Riding log day 8

English saddle and snaffle today. A snow squall blew in while we were riding, which got the other horses in the field wound up and running a little bit toward the end.

Mocha came to me from quite a ways off–still working on making that consistent, because there are times when she just stares at me when I call. Today I called from the gate while undoing her halter, and she started walking in even before I entered the field. She still had moments of stopping and thinking about coming, but I didn’t have to walk too far out there to catch her. That’s happening more and more these days. Geez, this is her fifth winter in this situation and it’s taken until now? Sigh.

I used the weight tape on her because I was curious about weight gain since I’ve had to let the English girth out one notch on one side, and no, I’m not imagining it–she’s up to about 1050-1060 lbs, from about 950-975 last fall after moving back to the ranch. Good hay, and less intensive works, I guess. It’ll come off in the spring once we start building up mileage on the roads.

This was the kind of day that I got my chinks for. Wet, sloppy snowfall that would have made my jeans uncomfortably damp, coupled with a wind that could cut through to the bone even with my old ski base layers on. I was happy to have them on. And I noticed that even though Mocha was working up a sweat toward the end of our work, the flakes that fell on her neck and mane didn’t melt. She was cool once I was done riding.

It was pretty much the same work as last time, the serpentines and two tracks with zigzag alternating haunches and forehand turns. We did a little more trotting than before. But she was eager to run, and while she caught her foot on something (probably a frozen mound of poop) a couple of times, recovery was easy since I was balanced in my stirrups and could brace my hands on her withers to steady her. At one point we backed through a figure eight because she was just a wee bit too eager to run. While she alerted when the herd did a short run, she listened to me and didn’t take off to try to join them.

What is really nice this winter is that she is focused on me and not so much on the herd. That’s a change from the past winters here, and good to see. Looks like I’m doing the right things.

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