Wednesday, March 31, 2010


So, all the mares at the barn appear to be in raging heat, which leaves pee everywhere and the poor geldings just abused and confused.  A couple of the ponies on the other side of the barn have been covering everything in urine and attempting to climb out of their stalls, so I've been just waiting for the curse to strike Pia. 

I'll preface this post by saying that yesterday, S and I had a conversation as to "how bad" P will be when she's in heat.  We, of course, had this conversation while she was being a little angel in the ring and I was regretting the fact that I forgot to add mare magic to her smartpak..  No sooner had I declared her "clearly not in heat yet" than we were untacking in the barn and Pia got her panties in a bunch about another mare and then promtly PEED IN THE AISLE.  in the AISLE.  not in her stall, not on a fence, not anywhere that would remotely make any sense, but just stopped walking and full on peed EVERYWHRE. 

So that answers that question.  I guess she's in heat. I guess she's not bad about it, and I guess that explains her little absolute refusal to trot at the end of our ride. (video to follow).

Alright, our lesson:

I got to the barn pretty early, but S already had P tacked and walking, and I could tell from the moment I pulled down the driveway that her back was swinging and HUGE, even more so than it has been the past week. (I realize that at some point I just need to reset my expectation for "swinging and huge," but relative to where she was 2 weeks ago... I'm thrilled).  S had tried riding Pia on Monday with side reins loosely attached from the center point on the girth. when I say loose, I mean loose. no tension, no action on the bit, just a little extra weight guiding her nose out and down.  It seems to have been just what Pia has been asking for.  Her neck is long and low, and she's actually lengthening her entire frame, not jsut poking her nose out.  (love it!).

I hopped on, and we started with P on the buckle, getting her to accept increased leg contact (without rocketing off) and using my outside leg to guide her off the rail and over ground poles set on a circle just shy of 20 meters. The goal was to get P over the poles at their center point using just seat and leg, and control her walk enough to not need my rein contact. 

It worked. mostly. or mostly enough that I was impressed. Then we added a slight lengthening between every other pole (about 15 strides) to work on starting to distinguish between lateral-move-haunches-over-leg and opening-up-our-stride leg.  she opened nicely, more of a struggle to bring her back, but that's ok for now.

Then it was trot work, and baby baby leg yield type things. Just the idea of moving off the rail, and then back to it.  Pis had mixed feelings on this, and certainly prefers moving away from my left leg.  moving away from the right leg usually involves some little hunchy hops.  (neato). 

Finally, we put some trot poles down.  starting with two poles, at a distance.  P was great. plopped over them, trying to figure out where her feet were supposed to go, and how many feet she exactly has (I'm not sure she knows the answer is four).

We made the mistake of giving her a quick break before switching direction, and apparently, Pia had concluded that she was in fact DONE with the ride and was not in any way, shape or, form interested in trotting ever again.  (sound left in, because its FUNNY)

We worked up to real trot poles by the end, she loved them! and focused so well...

Isn't she cute? I love this mare so much. Her little attitude fits are part of the charm.  Plus, I LOVE how amazing she feels when she relaxes and really pushes for a stride or two. can't wait for more and more of that!

I'm actually in town for the rest of the week and meeting free, so I'm looking forward to getting lots of rides (and lessons) in while I can.

Make hay while the sun shines, right?

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