Feb. 1st, 2012

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It's been a busy day, in which much progress has been made on many fronts.  I finished writing the draft of my Perthshire farmsteads paper. It still needs a wee bit of revision: I'd be happy to present it at a conference as it stands, but it just needs a bit more tweaking to bring it up to publication  standard...

And tomorrow, I'll be heading off to the weir for the next stage of the repairs...

Horse-riding went extremely well tonight.  I did eight trot-canter transitions on the left rein - Diva's BA-A-A-DDD rein! - and out of the eight, we managed to get two on the wrong leg, followed by another three on the right leg, followed by a stint on the right rein (on the right leg, each time...) followed by yet another couple of canters on the left rein, in which we got the first one on the wrong leg, and another two on the right leg.

That's what I call progress.  I feel vindicated, because my suspicions have once again been confirmed.  There's nothing wrong with Diva's left canter, but she needs to be helped by her rider, and not abandoned to bumble along unassisted.  When I first started riding her, she seemed a bit of sluggard when it came to trot-canter transitions, but...  Oh, boy, when she gets going, she ain't half stroppy!  She's very strong, and when she gets into her head that she WANTS to canter, she won't half fight you when you ask her to trot.  Which is nice, because I like a horse with a bit of oomph, as long as it's enthusiastic oomph, and not mean, wilful, treacherous oomph... 

So there's been improvements all round.  I'm much more confident at cantering Diva - so much so that I'd be quite happy to try cantering 20m circles and canter changes of reins.  And... Diva wasn't half as sweaty and knackered tonight as she has been, even though she did an awful lot of cantering.  She seems to be getting fitter.  Which considering that she only gets worked properly for half an hour a week is quite miraculous.

Things are not quite how I'd like them to be.  Cantering should be smooth and controlled - for a musical embodiment of the perfect canter, take the third movement of Mahler's 1st symphony as a perfect model.  But as I drove home, I discovered that I'd inadvertantly selected the perfect soundtrack for the occasion: Depeche Mode's Mercy in You (from the Songs of Faith & Devotion album).  Which in comparison to Mahler's landler is, how can I put it, a bit boisterous and energetic.  Just like Diva's canter, in fact...

And then... I discovered that the weather forecast delivered last night was a wee bit over-optimistic. There was a frost already settling, and temperatures of minus six have now been forecast for our area.  So I had to spend ages running around the garden trying to get the penstemon wrapped up for the foreseeable futures, packing them with hay and then putting fleece over the top.  Unfortunately, I think may have shut the stable door after the horse as bolted, which means, alas, I'll have lost all my plants, as none of the cuttings seem likely to survive to maturity.

Alas.  I had the sneaking suspicion that this might happen.  Though at least the pelargoniums have been brought into the house for the night, so they should be okay, at least...


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