Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Elevated Poles!

Last night during our lesson, poor S (currently hobbled by a new sling..) scuttled around and set up fun cavaletti for us.  (cavaletti = poles propped on random objects, standards, flower boxes... her foot..).  Anyway, P warmed up fast.  We braved free lunging with her tack.  She was an angel! and she stays more balanced than normal lunging... so this might be our new routine when the arena is all ours. she's so cute about it.

So we had a quick free lunge, then brief big walk (2 times each direction) before trotting and starting over normal poles.  Pia is still playing the "I don't have to go forward right away" game, which I am losing patience for.  It now results is a HUGE smack with the crop until she stops the cow-poke jog and actually responds to my leg.  The frustrating thing is that she's only sticky for a few seconds, then she switches gears and moves off normally.  ANNOYING. but not disastrous.

Notice her sticky trot in between the poles, but then how much she's engaging and using her hocks over the poles.  She's starting to use her body, love it!

Then we started with our figure 8's across the center of the ring with elevated poles.  She was a stud.  I tried to stay off her back as much as possible and let her pick her way through them...

Then we started them at the canter.  This was a little curious, but P did a nice job of balancing and figuring it out.  Again, I tried not to ride her to a spot so much as let her discover the poles.  She stepped on a few, but got the idea.  There were even a couple loops where she hit on stride AND got her lead going away.  I was impressed.  She also really started to pick herself up at the canter and sit back more.

Today was also the first time I felt like I am getting my seat back at the canter.  My leg felt solid, i felt balanced and all in all just a lot "tighter."  Such a nice feeling.  Also makes me less nervous to push Pia for things I know she objects to, like moving off my leg, or cantering on the right lead...

Of course, after about 10 minutes, she starting picking fights about her right lead.  In general her little outbursts are getting smaller and less momentous, really they are just little hops now.  but this particular buck a) got caught on video and b) is pretty impressive! look at the angle of her hind legs!

REALLY, Pia??? bad pony. just canter. that's all we ask.

Finally we finished with 10 minutes of long and low trot again.  Her conditioning is getting so much better that she's able to maintain a big loose trot a lot more effectively.  You can still see where she loses her balance and shortens her stride, but there are moments that hint at how fun her trot's going to be once she's a big kid!

All in all a good ride.  My only hangup for the week is why she's getting bitchier about being groomed.  I don't think she's still in heat.. but she's getting really snotty about her girth and also bratty about her chest.  dry skin? annoyed at me for making her work? who knows... we'll explore some options, maybe a softer curry comb? But, she still loves it on her neck and withers and back.. so its not like she's sore or sensitive... what a weirdo.

Also, I've been putting the Eqyss coat therapy on her lucky knees to soften the skin, and they now feel like a baby's butt.  Totally smooth, soft and with the added bonus of smelling like a coconut!  cuter.

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