It was chilly and very windy today - upper 30sF with a wind chill in the upper 20s - but Pie and I were happy to get in a ride - we've got rain/sleet/snow coming over the next several days so I doubt we'll get much done then.
Our ride involved a good bit of trot work on the hill behind the barn, which has a gentle incline. (The arena is still a swampy mess.) We worked on straightness, forward and relaxation at the trot. Pie doesn't know how to stretch down for contact yet, but the up-the-hill work was good for building hind end strength and the down-the-hill work good for rebalancing and weighting the hind end. I rode on a fairly loose rein and encouraged him to keep his head low and relaxed.
One of our neighbors was walking by with his two small dogs, and Pie wanted to go see them. (Last night he enjoyed meeting another neighbor's German Shepard.) When I first got him, Pie was worried/alarmed about dogs and children, but now he's curious and interested. Even though one of the dogs was barking, Pie wanted to get close to it.
Then we did a bit of trail work - some trail sections are still icy and not usable but there are starting to be some clear stretches. We even did a little bit of trotting. We didn't go far from the barn - barely out of sight - but it was enjoyable. Whenever he seemed inclined to rush, or raise his head, I just pushed my hand forward and gave him even more rein and that seemed to help him relax.
After I got off and untacked, I called Dawn and she came and I brought her in. Just as we were nearing the barn, a whole bevy of preteens showed up - they were apparently from a local school's Spanish class and were looking to take pictures of various things they had done posters for - one of the posters was "caballo" with a drawing of a horse. They asked if there was a horse they could take a picture with - I said "this isn't the right one" as I led Dawn by - flapping white posterboard and boisterous preteens aren't her thing and although she might well have been good I didn't want to risk it - and said I'd get them another horse.
After I put Dawn away, I got Pie back out and he was glad to meet the kids. He stood with a boy who was holding the "caballo" posterboard and had his picture taken - while trying to eat the poster. Several of the kids came up afterwards and petted him. The teacher taking the pictures commented on how he posed with his ears up. Good Pie! (Dawn got a nice grooming afterwards, too.)