The grass around the lower ring was being mowed just as I wanted to ride, but I didn’t care because I had already decided to ride in the top ring. Why? Well, the footing in the lower ring has been very hard, while the upper ring has been wonderful. The problem is that the upper ring is tiny. But I’ve been worried about PJ’s feet and had a sinking suspicion that part of PJ’s laziness might be the footing. PJ only has shoes in the front and one hind foot has a crack in it. I talked to the farrier about it and he didn’t seem concerned but the crack as grown and I’m concerned. I might request hind shoes the next time he gets shod. Then again, we’re getting the footing in the indoor next week, which may solve a lot of probems.
But for today, I was testing my hypothesis by riding in the deeper footing in the upper ring. And wouldn’t you know it, PJ went wonderfully. He half-halted, moved forward, cantered when I asked. Everything. We even did trot poles! I’m thinking that I’m going to continue to ride in the upper ring until the new footing is installed in the indoor. And maybe I’ll have a talk with my farrier the next time he’s around. I’m not 100% sure it was the footing, but it makes sense.