Well, I survived my last road trip of the year and now, with 45 unique states under foot in the past 12 months, am ready to settle down and stay put for a little while! I had a wonderful time (and took lots of pictures), but was definitely feeling antsy to get back in the saddle... especially after my less than stellar lesson right before I left.
Both Ringo and Ky got ridden a little bit while I was away, but for the most part they both got a little vacation. And I definitely think they both enjoyed the recharge time, because they've been feeling great!
Today I had my third round of winter gymnastics - I couldn't connect with Robin and so was all on my lonesome and didn't want a million rails to move around by myself (having already single-handedly moved every rail and standard from the garage to the gazebo on the side our arena yesterday). I've also mentioned several times that I feel like Ky's trot lacks pop sometimes, and that I find trot-in exercises with him rugged sometimes because I feel like I have zero horse under me when I get to the base of the jump.
With those two things in mind, I made the following:
One vertical with a 9' placing rail in front of it, approached from the trot--simple but surprisingly mighty! I started with the jump very small (like less than 2') and really focused on making him take me powerfully to the fence and pop off the ground, even with a trot approach. To try to keep his trot energized, I opted to canter around the corner until I was lined up with the jump, then came back to a active, bouncy trot for the fence itself. I liked this approach because it also doubles as a good half-halt exercise, and reminded Ky to keep listening to me even in front of the jump.
In general, the little dude felt AWESOME. He just has such a great feeling of power off the ground when he's in front of my leg. He jumped super cleverly all the way up to 3'6", then we did have one major 'miss' where I flubbed my line, came in crooked and underpowered, and he completely clobbered the fence. I was proud of myself for not getting rattled, resetting the fence, and coming right back around again. The second time around he felt like a rocket ship off the ground! After many, MANY good boy pats I quit for the day on that.
What a champ! I definitely feel like I'm getting my moxie back, inch by inch. I'm so thankful to have this awesome little pony in my life :)