It's been miserably hot here this week, mid- to high 90's. Even the mornings have been sultry, so I try to get all my chores and projects and riding done as early as possible.
Haying is going well, we've been doing a field a day, sometimes two if they're small, and only have three more to go of first cutting timothy, about 75 acres. Then two with oats that will need a few more weeks, then second cutting of the one alfalfa field (for the sheep), then a few more weeks 'til second cutting timothy (usually after school starts). I don't usually help with the oats and alfalfa, but they're short one crew member this year (the foreman's 19 y.o. son is working a "real" job in his chosen career field), so I suppose I'll be on call.
Beth and Maddie get a few days off since Beth's temper tantrum the other day--I was sort of working up the energy (and gumption) to go at it again. I also got a load of gravel for the back end of the barn, and needed to get it spread before my hay comes, so that took a good day (along with a little bit of a reconfiguration of my storage area).
So this morning I skipped projects, and caught Beth and brought her in. She's slowly getting better about saddling--not so much dancing around, and I take my time cinching her up, and only get a stomp or two about that. Lots of lovin' when we can get dressed without too much of a fuss.
She lunged nicely on mostly verbal commands and body language (but then, she had done that part well the other day, too). Stood like a rock for me to mount, and waited for me to ask her to move out.
Walking, bending, circles and figure-eights. I was wearing my stubby spurs, and had the dressage whip tucked under the saddle, but never brought it out. Only once or twice did she need much encouragement to move forward.
A little less cooperative at the trot, wandering around and sometimes setting her jaw against my hand, but 300% better than the other day. Once we got a few nice circles each direction, I let her stand for a bit, then we went out in the north pasture for a walk.
Nothing too scary there (it's where they've been turned out at night for the last week), but the tall grass was a bit distracting. Also the fact that everyone else was back at the barn. But we did okay, and after about ten minutes, I climbed off, loosened her cinch, and we walked back side-by-side.
With the heat, we're starting haying a lot earlier in the day, and subsequently finishing earlier, as well. So today I was home by 5:30, and we had an early supper, then, as things cooled off outside, I caught Maddie and threw the dressage saddle on her, for a bit of a change-up in our routine. Walk, trot circles, with lots of bending to supple her and bring her nose down where it belongs. Then two nice sets of canter circles--to the right was really nice; to the left was a bit unbalanced to start, but evened out as she found her stride.
There is no evidence of the lameness from earlier this spring, so I think that has resolved itself. I continue to use her sports medicine boots for a little extra support and protection.
All in all, it was a good day to ride.
On a more somber note:Please keep Russell, Christine, and Megan Ray in your thoughts and prayers. Russell is a sweetheart of a man, who never misses his daughter's 4H shows, and will help or cheer on any kid there that might need it.
Russell disappeared without a trace on June 21st, while the rest of the family was out of town at a wedding (he stayed behind to take care of the animals). Nothing missing from the house, and both vehicles where they belonged. There are absolutely no leads.
Christine is a substitute teacher at my school, and very active as a parent as well. Megan just "graduated" from 5th grade to the middle school. Megan is somewhat timid by nature, and this whole thing is devastating for her.
Please ask whatever higher power you believe in to watch over them all, and hurry Russell's safe return to his family.