It was a very good day. My younger daughter and I went to the barn this afternoon, where she had the chance to spend time with Dawn, groom her and ride for a bit - her first ride in about a year. My daughter always has ridden Dawn bareback, but no longer has any "horse pants" to ride in, so rode in my dressage saddle with the stirrups taken off, as the closest approximation to bareback. They had a lovely time together, and my daughter commented on how relaxed and happy Dawn was.
It rained a bit for most of the day, so all three horses were very dirty. The mud at our barn, when dry, is more sand than clay, so it does come off fairly easily, which was a good thing. Today was Red's big day - our first ride after well more than a month, and really 7 weeks since we'd done any real work. I was interested to see how he would do, and expected that his training would hold very well, and I wasn't disappointed. He was just plain great - he stood like a statue for mounting, and walked around beautifully on light contact. We only walked for 10 minutes, and I didn't ask him to really use himself, but he was walking well and comfortably. We used cones to make things more interesting, and did lots of circles and figure eights. His halt was beautiful and soft, and when I asked for one step of backing, that was beautiful and soft too - no more than that as it requires him to really use himself. Not the slightest suggestion of brace in him - I couldn't have been more delighted. He seemed disappointed that our work session was over so soon. I promised him there were more good things in our future together . . .
Pie was next, and we also had an excellent session. We did some weaving in and around cones to help our focus. His trot work was really excellent - we did a lot of lengthening/shortening, and I worked on my sitting trot and letting my back move with his (very hard to sit) trot. His softness, forward and straightness were great. At the end of our session, I got off and left him standing in the middle of the arena and walked all around to pick up the cones and put them away. He watched me with his ears pricked but didn't move a foot - good Pie!
You can't ask for a better day than that with horses.