Today was a mare day. The boys and I didn't ride, although they were attended to, and I even went to say hi to them while they were in turnout - they were much more interested in the hay than in me.
Dawn and I had a nice short walk/trot ride this morning - it was still pretty cold - in the 20s. Yesterday, she'd started out a bit stiff before she warmed up, but today she was sound at the trot from the beginning. She seems to be off the day following a day off, which reinforces my suspicion that she's developing some hock arthritis in her right hind, which is to be expected at her age. Probably the lower joint of the hock, which will likely fuse at some point, resulting in consistent soundness again. Until she's reliably sound each ride as soon as we trot, indicating that her arthritis has either abated or progressed to the point the joint is more comfortable, we'll keep our work sessions short - just 10 or 15 minutes of trotting to keep her joints mobile. The work seems to improve her soundness, and we'll try to work most days.
When I go get Dawn from the turnout, I always also say hi to Missy. She always looks up when I call and waits for me to walk up and say hi. But today she actually saw me coming and walked up to greet me! She's clearly beginning to know that I'm her person and seems happy to see me (no treats either when I greet her so it isn't food). She seems pretty content all around, which I'm glad to see. She has made one mare friend, a palomino QH who's in her 20s. They hang out together and eat from the bale together. The other mares also tolerate her, which is also good. This morning, when I led Dawn away toward the barn, Missy made a bee line for the bale Dawn had been on - even though they're stall neighbors, Dawn won't let Missy eat at "her" bale yet.
Missy and I rode in the afternoon. We worked some more on her softness in walk, halt and backing, and stretching down, both in hand and under saddle. And we worked some more on her being able to move her inside hind over in response to my leg. We started on the ground, and she was really starting to get it - she's quick to learn - moving off my right side aid was harder for her but we kept working until she understood.
The arena doors were open - it was in the upper 30s, with no wind and sunny - and she dealt very well with that. Her softness and responsiveness at the walk, including my asking her to move over with my leg, are very good - well above 75%, so today, for the first time, we trotted. We didn't do a lot of trot work - she needs to build her fitness and she's only been out of front shoes for less than two weeks - but she was great - just what I'm coming to expect from the Miss mare! I was delighted with her and told her so.
A good day with mares - nothing is better!