My birthday was sunny and warm, with the cherry tree bursting in bloom.
I made a rhubarb pie for my "birthday cake." I used the rhubarb that I've been keeping in the freezer from last summer especially for today.
While the pie was cooling, I went down to ride Winston. I read an article in the April issue of Dressage Today at breakfast by Ingrid Klimke about her classical approach to dressage, carrying forward her father's teachings and incorporating her own holistic approach. I loved the article. She writes about using variety in training, about taking small steps, and fostering the horse's personality. One of the tools she uses to create variety is cavalletti. She gives instructions on how to use cavalletti in walk, trot and canter. I couldn't wait to try it.
Brett was just finishing up with Flash. His back is still hurting so he called it quits after a short ride.
I set up the cavalletti for walk. The article suggested using four poles, spaced 3 feet (80 cm) apart and about a foot high.
Winston and I warmed up with some review of bending from our last lesson. I practiced sitting up tall with my shoulders back far enough that my abs engaged and my seat bones sank into the saddle.
And then we headed over the poles. Winston did the exercise well.
Next, I adjusted the poles for trot work. I moved them further apart (4 feet, 3 inches) and higher off the ground (1 1/2 feet). Yipes. Winston maneuvered better than I expected. He tried to jump the last two poles on one of the trips through.
The last time through, he couldn't decide whether to jump or trot and ended up taking out a pole. Oh, well.
I didn't even attempt canter. Winston was happy and excited and ready to jump, jump, jump. I think I will incorporate a cavalletti day into our work every week. We both had a blast and it is excellent for his back.
For my birthday dinner, I made chicken curry. The recipe is one my mother got from an Indian friend when we lived in Tanzania. It's a bit of work, but not hard, and so good. While the curry simmered, I cut up all the fruits and veggies that are piled on top.
Kyle and Camille did the dishes. They came up just for dinner, after Camille got off work. They will head back down the mountain tonight so they can spend Easter with their father and his family (its his turn). So, it was wonderful that they made the drive up. How did I get so lucky? Great husband, great kids and a great horse.