Since I last posted, Mac has not only been put on a diet, but the vet put him on Thyro-L to help him lose some weight. Colin has also started riding him 2 days per week, which takes some pressure off of me and my own schedule (and my hips). And I've been riding exclusively in my dressage saddle. The result of all of these things is that Mac feels like he has more energy, is losing a bit of weight, and my hips aren't bothering me so much so that when I do ride I can now go back to cantering! (For some reason, the canter really bothered my hips so I haven't been doing much of it.) Mac is also feeling really good under saddle.
Since I started taking some dressage lessons with Pony, I thought it would be good to get the arena gussied up and put some letters down (at least indicate where the letters are) and also get some poles to do more pole work and/or set up a couple jumps if I want.
I went to Wilco and got a bunch of little flower pots and poles, went to Big Lots and got a lot of fake flowers that were 50% off, and set up my "letters" around the arena with the pots of flowers as markers.
In this shot of the arena I had set up an exercise with the poles. The two poles that are parallel to the short side of the arena mark spots for 20-meter circles, so the arena is divided into three sections of 20-meter circles. The two poles that are parallel to the long side of the arena serve two functions: they are set at a trot stride so I can trot through them, and they are also set that they form a "chute" that I can go through on center line and halt at X so I know where I am and can practice halts.
My cavaletti mark A, C, B, and E and are handy in case I want to use them for exercises, too.
With the poles set like this I did a bunch of exercises yesterday. I did 3-circle figure 8s up and down the arena. I practiced turning the corner inside of the pole and up center line. After halting at X, I practiced leg yielding out toward the rail (both directions) and not walking or trotting over the pole. I practiced backing between the two poles. I love poles - there are so many fun things to do! I'll probably keep the arena like this for a week or so so I can do these exercises with Pony, then I'll come up with something else that's fun!