Today was a really good horse day. I rode all four horses (I rode all four yesterday, too), and each ride was a delight.
I left home at about 7:30 a.m. this morning. The barn is only about a 5 minute drive from my house, which is really nice. I hiked out to get Dawn, we groomed (with a fair amount of nose snuggling), tacked and had the arena to ourselves, as usual. Dawn has been stiff and a bit off during her warmup trot work lately - she improves during our work, which makes me think arthritis - I believe her right hock - but this morning she was perfectly sound from the get go at the trot on both diagonals.
This afternoon, after bring-in, I groomed Red, Missy and Pie in sequence, and then rode them in that order, starting at about 3:00 p.m.
Red was up first, and was excellent - lots of very nice stretching down trot work with good bend on circles and around corners. There was a fair amount of activity in the arena, but he was relaxed but very nicely forward. He's completely sound now at the trot on both diagonals and is really using himself nicely.
Missy was a star, as usual. Yesterday, she'd been startled badly by the big arena door going up directly behind her and scooted a few steps, so today we hand led by the doors and she watched them go up and down - her eyes got big but she didn't move a foot and I think the doors are pretty much a non-issue. We did some in-hand softening and stretching down work - she's got it nailed, and her backing is much softer than it even was yesterday. Then we did some in-hand work on her moving over/bending in response to leg - using my hand to simulate leg pressure. Today, I just got on without any special preparation and she stood like a rock. Her stretching down and softness at the walk are much more consistent, and we started working on her bending and moving over from my leg. We also worked on having a good, forward walk - I carried a dressage whip for the first time to reinforce with a secondary cue as needed. Her stop off my "stopping inside" is pretty much there. She's softening and backing much better as well. What a good girl she is!
Pie was last, and he was great, too. We worked on his bending and stretching down at the trot - his forward is very consistent now and I rarely have to use a secondary cue. We did some very nice canter work, including two perfect walk/canter departures off my energy/changing the rhythm inside, and some very nice relaxed but forward canter work, asking for stretch down.
Can't ask for a better horse day that that!