It got above freezing here for the first time in about a week yesterday. It was also the first day I've been able to get to the barn since Wednesday. Thankfully, when I showed up, I was the only person there. I grabbed Izzy and we headed to the indoor for some much-needed play time.
She galloped around and bucked and leaped and had a grand time. I went back and mucked out her stall before deliberating about what to do. Part of me didn't even want to ride because the wind was so strong that I almost blew over walking to the arena. The other part of me dragged out the western saddle. Izzy actually seemed pretty happy to go for a ride. I think she missed me. :-)
It was really fun; it was only our 4th time to ever use a western saddle, but I can feel Izzy improving each time we do it. Last time, we focused a lot on trying to develop a jog without her either throwing her head up and running or diving onto the bit and dragging. This time was much better--she would collect herself (as long as I kept her soft), and move quietly forward into a nice, smooth jog. Then she would drop out of it. Oh well. It's progress. We worked a lot on bending in and out to keep her soft and focused. I'm also trying to teach her to neck rein a little bit, but I'm not really sure how that's going.
We also started to work on changing her canter over to a bit of a lope. I didn't push it much because that's a lot of work and I didn't want her to work up too much of a sweat. It was way too cold for that.
All in all, I'm really pleased. This is another way for us to pinpoint issues in training and communication and work on them. I'm supposed to have a dressage lesson this afternoon. All I have to say about that is it better warm up. It's currently 6f outside.