13.04.18: Regroup

Getting back into the swing of things as winter loosens its grip is no easy task. I was pleased that our short warm spell that took the temps up to 90 had Storm sweating nicely. Its been tough to try to keep up with the shedding hair, my arms will fall off before I can brush him enough to reduce the amount of hair falling off of him. We have left swaths of white hair "in the wake of the Storm" numerous times across the hillside behind the barn. Finally, there was an evening warm enough and sunny enough to get a ride in. 
I collected him from the pasture without incident, and we attempted to brush as much as possible, which was a useless effort. Some of the dirt was removed, and so I got him tacked up and headed to the arena. He was nice and calm and behaved himself. I started with a little bit of the exercise working against the fence asking him to step up, and found him to be pretty responsive. He was putting effort into it, and was trying very hard, but was still pretty heavy in my hand at times. Catching his weight and stopping him once he dumped into my hand was really challenging. We worked on that for a little while before I climbed up and started to ride.
It was really refreshing to just be able to get on and go without having to do massive amounts of ground work and lunging before hand. He was able to simply get going and fall right into the work without a lot of fuss. I could feel him putting effort into it and was pleased to find that it seemed to be going fairly smoothly. I didn't find too many spots that were terrible, and we didn't hit any massive amounts of struggle. We worked in each direction for a while, even moving up to trot for a little bit. We came around through the center working to the right, and he began to fall into the circle a little bit, and as I was working to try to get him back out on the circle, he ended up hearing almost straight towards the jump that was left up in the arena. We had been passing to the outside of the jump, but his loss of balance took us much closer to it, he hesitated completely, acting almost surprised to find it directly in his path of travel. He must have been concentrating so hard that he wasn't completely looking where he was going, and it took him by complete surprise! I was amused and laughed at him as we reorganized ourselves and got back to work.
Ed had been hanging out with us and watching, and I asked him if he wanted to get up and ride, so I handed him my helmet and took Storm over to the fence for him to mount. I guided him through the process of asking Storm to bring the saddle up, and it took him a try or two, but eventually Storm brought the saddle right to him. He climbed up, and we decided that the stirrups needed to be dropped a few holes, and so I helped him make the adjustments before I sent him off. I walked with him and began reminding him to find the ball. It was really amazing to watch Storm move between being inverted (posture 1 if anyone is paying attention) and finding better balance. Seeing the lightness and lift coming through Storm's front legs was amazing. Storm was putting in a tremendous amount of effort for Ed, which made me very happy. I was so proud of how well he was doing. 
I noticed that Storm's head had gone up pretty high, which told me that the ball had popped out on one side, so I asked Ed which side was higher, and told him to sit on it. Storm's head continued to stay pretty high for the next several steps, so I asked again, and he said it was the left side, then I asked him if he was sitting on the high side or the low side, and he quickly realized he had moved the opposite way. He shifted himself much more to the left and Storm's head immediately dropped down, and he began to shift weigh back to his hindquarters again. It was a distinct Ah-ha moment that I'm not even sure if Ed found the full clarity of, but the connection was immediate. Ed seems to have a feel for riding, even though he really doesn't have any idea what he is doing, he's getting it right despite that. He doesn't believe it, but the proof is in the pictures!