This evening after work I went to the barn and rode Lucy. It was 94F. Me and heat do not get along so my expectations were low. As usual, the barn was deserted. Two kids were finishing up a lesson in the covered arena, Sandy's groom was sweeping out the grooming area and a woman was hand grazing her horse under the walnut trees where the shade was deep. By the time I started riding, they had all left.
I found Lucy standing in her stall, eating hay. At least, I was pretty sure it was Lucy. I couldn't really see her. She was wearing a worn red fly mask on her head and a fly sheet that covered her from her tail to the top of her neck. All I could see of Lucy was her four legs poking out underneath. She stood quietly while I undid all the velcro and clasps and didn't even blink when I lifted the whole mess over her head.
Lucy was a tad lethargic when I first got on; something I haven't experienced with her yet. But at 94 degrees, I can't say that I was exactly bursting with energy. When I asked for more energy in the walk she gave it to me readily. She was relaxed in the trot, stretching over her back and reaching forward with her neck. After our warm up, we went right to canter work. We're getting this down. With every stride, I closed my fist in a half-halt with my outside rein and then gave. We cantered in a cadenced dance of pause and go; listen and relax. I gave her softness in the give and rhythm in the half-halt. We cantered twice around the circle, in each direction, and then came back to trot. It was too hot to keep going. I practiced a bit of haunches-in and did much better. The trick for me was to think of it is a variation of leg yield on the rail - which I know how to do - instead of as a new movement (yikes! Must be difficult! ...brain freeze).
We were both hot and sweaty so after our ride I hosed Lucy off and took her, wet and sleek as a seal, into the jumping arena to roll. I figured a coating of mud would be a more comfortable barrier to flies than that fly sheet. After rolling, Lucy took off. That horse can move! Play the Batman theme song (the one from my childhood) in your head. Na na na na, na na na na, BATMAN! In the na na na na part, she was digging in and galloping down the long side. Then "BATMAN!" -- she's bucking and pawing and skidding to a stop.
This girl has some serious energy. She needs a pasture. Soon, Lucy, very soon.