Boy, has it snowed!
Woke up at half six this morning, and it felt like Christmas Eve, peeking out of the window to see whether
Santa the snow had come yet! And it had! No work today - trains into London are running a skeleton service at best, most of the tube lines are all or part suspended, there are no buses running in the whole of Greater London, and more snow is forecast for the afternoon! I am so happy that I am reduced to bouncing on my toes going 'Eeeeeee!' a lot! This is BETTER than Christmas!
Had breakfast with my sister, who had walked down to the railway station to go to work and been thwarted by the lack of trains, which was very nice - and am planning a walk on the common with other family later.
If only the roads were better, I would drive down to see M - who, as an Icelandic, LOVES the snow! I would love to see him ploughing through the snow, all his mane flying! Yesterday we had a short ride in the indoor school because it was SO cold that my face went numb just walking out across the field to bring him in. He Does Not Like the indoor school - which has rubbish footing - sand over concrete - not nice at all. But he was a good sport, and I had dragged out some poles to make it more interesting, so we practiced our turns - steering from the withers, and asking him to step sideways with his foreleg, rather than jack-knifing at the neck. NB to self: he can turn beautifully, but it seems like he has to be going slow enough to do so... Making sure that I had a good enough 'lid on the toothpaste' was helpful here, seemed to give him enough 'space' so that he could step sideways, otherwise he just surged forwards. The poles were also helpful, because he understood the concept of steering towards them, so was more inclined to listen to my leg asking him to step sideways when he understood that we were aiming for the pole in front of us. At one point we were trotting and ended up in front of a pole (when my steering had gone a bit pear-shaped) and he did a tiny little hop over the pole - so that was a good omen for possibly doing jumping on him at some point!
We also practiced our walk-trot transitions. I was trying to play around with how to get trot rather than pace (which is the lateral two-time Icelandic gait, I think), and also how to get from pace to trot, when he was offering the former rather than the latter. This is still a work in progress, but I noticed the following (notes to self for future work) - he paces with his head held high, but it seems like he can only trot with his head held low. There were a couple of points where I managed to ride through pace into trot, by sitting really 'deeply' into the pace, and asking him both to push on and reach down with his head. This didn't always work, and it may be that what worked was some other thing I was doing that I haven't identified yet. He seems to offer pace as the default, as it seems to require less effort than trot. The typical riding school advice of 'shorten your reins and ask for trot' definitely Does Not Work for M. He needs a longer rein if anything. Shortening the rein just gets pace with the lifted head carriage.
So, we have another lesson with S next Saturday, and I feel that we've conscientiously 'done our homework' - and, more to the point, have some things to discuss re both the steering and the walk-trot transitions. So, I'm looking forward to that.
Right - I'm supposed to be making use of this time to write - so more posting later!
Happy Snow Day, everybody!