Riding days are few and far between, with our extremely cold weather. Normal highs this time of year are around 35F - we've been in the single digits and sometimes teens and rarely 20s. Today it actually got up into the 20s, and it won't be that warm again for several days (and hasn't been since Saturday), so we took full advantage. The wind was bad - lots of noise in the arena.
Pie was up first. We got to ride in an empty ring, and he was wonderful - very forward but responsive and soft. We did some work on our canter circles - we've been tending to lose his hind end to the outside, and I needed to support more with my outside leg.
Missy was next. We started in an empty ring, and she was a bit worried about that. We did some leading work and standing around. When I got on, we did lots of smallish circles at the walk to help her relax and stretch down. Once another horse came into the ring, she was more comfortable. We did more walk figure work, and once she was halting off my intent, things were better. Someone came into the ring and started lungeing with lots of aggressive whip cracking, so I got off for a bit and stood with her - she kept looking at me and touching me with her nose for reassurance. Pretty soon she was OK with that and I got back on. At the end of our ride we did about two minutes of sustained trot work - 4 times around the ring - in each direction. I wanted forward and some tries towards softness - she did great.
Red was last. The whole time I was riding Pie and Missy, he hung by his stall door, not touching his hay. He was clearly interested in coming out and doing some work. He was on alert in the arena - the doors were banging and there was a mare working in there. When I went to put the reins over his head, he attempted to nip my hand. Um . . . no . . . I don't think so. We had a conversation about that and did some more leading work, including having him back out of my space. He hasn't attempted to nip in a long time - he used to be quite inclined to bite (and do lots of other things I won't mention) when I first got him. This was a combination of his needing to be in control when he was nervous, and also him being full of himself and even a bit studdy. Hard to tell what brought it on today - he was very much on his mettle, there was a mare in the ring, and he'd perhaps had some studly memories triggered by seeing the mare from his old barn. I noticed him a couple of days ago aggressively pushing another gelding around in the pasture, so that could be it. Or perhaps he was just feeling fresh and needing some exercise - he did one big head shake while we were trotting, or perhaps he was annoyed because I rode him last (Red cares about that sort of thing). None of that really mattered, I just got on and rode him the way I wanted him to go.
Our ride was pretty good - he was extremely forward and even showing off for the mare in the ring - his trot was very animated. There was one scoot/bolt when someone, instead of tapping on the big arena door to say they were coming in, slammed on it - right behind Red. It took a while to get relaxation and softness, but we did, including some nice stretching down. We also took advantage of his animated gaits to do some very nice lateral work. Red's a challenge to ride at times, and I always need to be sure his ground manners stay appropriate, but he's a delight as well.
We've got some more very cold weather coming, and then the weekend looks possible for riding . . .