Flash is slowing down and on some days even easy work is an effort for him. He is still firmly in alpha position with the herd, monitoring the comings and goings of the residents on our street and in our community.
This morning before work, I worked with Winston. I didn't want to do anything too intense because Gayle comes up for lessons tomorrow and I don't want him tired. Since the poles were already in the arena, I set up some cavaletti.
I set two poles on the ground toward the middle of the arena, so we would cross them on the diagonal whenever we changed direction. Winston walked over them without blinking.
On one long side I set up two poles, a few inches off the ground, spaced quite far apart. The object of the raised poles is to get the horse to lift his hocks, creating some suspension, while lifting and stretching across his back. Winston did very well with lifting his legs and not quite as well with stretching over his back. Eventually, he relaxed and stopped hollowing his back but it took awhile.
On the opposite longs side of the arena, I set up two poles closer together. This required him to think about where his feet were and to adjust his stride. No problemo.
After he was working well at trot in both directions, we picked up the canter. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go over the raised poles at a canter. Winston is quite the jumper, he was started as a jumper, and he has talent. But I'm 52 and my bones break easily and my balance isn't what it was when I was a teenager jumping bareback over logs. So, we picked up an easy canter and rode to the inside of the poles. Winston tried as hard as he could to go to the jumps. He leaned, he tried to turn, he desperately wanted to go over them. So, we did. Just the ones that were spaced far apart. He jumped them clean and neat. It was really fun. I felt safe. He didn't get silly at all.
I think we'll do this more often.