March 10, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I had a lovely evening at the barn last night. I managed to get there in good time (yea flowing traffic), and it was still light out by the time I was finished feeding and ready to pull Rose from her paddock. I find this time of year to be fantastic and invigorating. A sense of spring budding is in the air, and after this weekend we will have an extra hour of light in the evenings...woo-hoo! Maybe having 10 days to get away from the rat race helped too.I highly recommend vacations once in a while, even if it is just to one's own house 750miles away. I digress.

Rose was terrific last night. She is shedding like a mother, but that's her style. Rose doesn't do anything halfway, she's all in all the time. One of her many great qualities. We spent a good amount of time with the curry, making a tidy pile of spent hair on the floor. Come April she'll be all black for a brief period of time. I can't wait to see it.

I'm also happy to report that after our initial week and a half with Thrush Off, her thrush never came back. Since it is still wet outside I've been applying it once a week as a maintenance prevention, but I'm not sure that is even necessary at this point. I'm glad that I bought the extra bottles of it though, just to have on hand for the future, should we have to deal with that again.

As for under saddle work, she was relatively quiet in the cross ties, so I decided to just hop on her and go for a longer ride, rather than longe her first. Another rider was in the arena at the time, and I'm not a huge fan of longeing in the company of others. Granted, if she's hot I'll longe her without reservation. I find that the presence of another horse often distracts Rose, which turns into a fight between her and I where not much is accomplished other than my Alpha mare-ness gets asserted and she ends up really tired, and then I don't have much horse to ride. That process generally interrupts their ride too, regardless of how polite they are that it doesn't bother them. So, if she's not hot and I feel it's one of those days that it will go either way, and someone is riding, I just hop on her instead. Now don't misunderstand, most of the time she longes like a perfect lady. I am probably just too conscientious about others.

Our ride was good. She started out really forward with a nice walk. Her trot was much the same, but she was rushing badly. Something she hasn't done in a while, so I took her into small circles every time she fell on her forehand and rushed. Eventually she remembered that she had to balance HERSELF and stopped with the rushing. When I asked her to pick up the canter she obliged. She was great to the left. However, when I asked her to pick up the right lead, which she did, as soon as I brought her into a 20m circle she started trying to do little bucks.

Not cool.

This is something new for her, and I was not about to have to deal with it again. I don't tolerate two things - bucking and rearing. I nip them in the bud immediately. So, as she was trying out this new little trick of hers, I put more leg on her and made her keep cantering, more forward, and in a 15m circle. The more she acted up the smaller the canter circle got until she obliged, then as a reward we went down the long side of the arena. As a rule of thumb, when horses try this sort of stuff with me I never let them break into a trot...otherwise they just got what they wanted.

She didn't try it again.

After that she began stretching through her back, and really starting using her hind end in the canter, and got very nice and light in the contact. I focused a lot on transitions, as our class at the show this weekend is the Mare Material class. We don't have a test to do, but rather WTC on the rail in a group class. She was great, and didn't give me any more issues with her canter transition. We ended our session practicing the Training Level 1 test, and we actually did pretty good for our first attempt ever. My brain seems to be getting the swing of memorizing things again!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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