|a giant beak.|
Anyway, Prairie and I have gotten back to business. Like I mentioned, S had some good rides on her while I was busy last weekend and the trend seems to have continued even with me in the irons. Since we're aiming for a couple 2'6" divisions this weekend (pre-adult, what-what!) I've been eager to leave the ground pole drama behind us and get back to functioning like a real horse and rider.
Monday, I headed out to the barn intending on getting a quick ride in before my vet showed up for some bodywork. It was pouring down rain, and just when I was starting to tack up, one of the guys popped in and notified me that the indoor was closed. For painting. (what?)
Apparently, the ppoooouuuurrrrring down rain, deterred the guys from working outside all day (don't blame them) so instead they put fresh paint on the walls of the indoor arena - not really thinking about the fact that all the boarders would be just as disinterested about riding out in the same rain. They also overlooked the small fact that one of the trainers has a full teaching schedule Monday nights and might not be thrilled to be in the rain for 5 hours should her clients not all cancel and run away. (which they did)
(Mind you, I grew up with a (small) outdoor ring with no covered/indoor arena to speak of - which is a brave thing in Seattle. Yet somehow I survived. I really don't mind riding in the rain unless I'm paying out the nose for board which presumably includes a functional indoor arena).
Also, since the rest of you were probably actually suffering from droughts all summer you are well aware how dry the last four months have been. Even Seattle had a 150 days in a row without rain. When NO ONE was riding inside. Not sure why we didn't paint the walls then...
But I digress.
Anyway, not having a lesson and not really caring, I just fluffed and buffed the mare and waited for our vet. Who commented that P2 looks the best she's ever seen. The irregular gait/rein lameness is totally gone, she's driving off her butt more and her poll/topline/shoulders are all opening up and losing the tension she came with. All good things.
But mostly I was thrilled that there were no obvious pain points and that (so far) neither new saddle is causing damage (yesss).
Yesterday I had a fun lesson wherein we played with actual cavaletti and worked on me holding myself tall and asking Prair to come up to me instead of me giving/releasing too much over each pole. This worked pretty well in the trot, and decently well in the canter. In the canter we also worked on getting her toes deep to the poles and asking her to rock back. (left lead was rad, right lead was harder).
Today we took that exercise inside and started building up small courses. Mixing in a few things like sitting the trot to some jumps, adding strides, etc. I think part of our success was due to the small indoor (which visually backs Prairie off more) but it was the best work we've had over fences in a while.
For one thing, I'm no longer terrified to go ride some courses at our baby show this weekend, and for another I no longer think that Prairie is totally batshit. :)
I have thrown a running martingale on the beast and I think that's a big ticket to the recent success. It doesn't inhibit her at all when we're riding nicely, but if she loses her balance and tries to scoot, the extra leverage is just enough to interrupt her pattern and bring her back from outer space.
Our Tuesday ride was brisk and windy which added a certain amount of.... spunk to the ride. Additionally horses were being brought in for dinner so everyone was whinnying and bucking and farting around which made Prairie extremely interested in everything but me. She tried to zoom off a few times when other horses freaked out, but she hit her martingale, dropped her nose back down and settled in nothing more than a few strides.
It's not a be-all-end-all, but I think that it might help shut down the crazy-scoots before she really amps herself up and becomes convinced that life is scary.
I know I can't show in it, but I can guarantee we'll be warming up in it come Saturday morning...
One more school at home tomorrow, then we haul out Friday afternoon to get settled in and school at the showground. Sat we rock the 2'6" world and are hopefully home in time for a glass of wine and a nice soak in the hot tub.
At least, that's the plan.