Friday I had my vet out for some bodywork and while Prairie is looking great (yay!) Pia is toeing out her RF more than usual so we have a quick follow up scheduled to see if that is continuing or if some adjustments took care of it.
Prairie's update is that she's no longer cheating and holding so much in her right shoulder and neck. That's huge and means we've been doing our job with her training and work. But (there's always a "but" with mares...) her triceps were really tight, leading us to believe that she's cheating with them instead of opting to really lift her back. Argh. So, we still have work to do, but at least we're unlocking the puzzle...
The girls ended up with both Sunday and Monday off (I think they were celebrating our anniversary too). Which meant I was greeted by two very perky, very fresh ladies this am. Pia was in her stall because one of the grooms noticed her RH was puffy (damn scratches). I thanked him for noticing, but then threw her back outside.
Prairie still had some of the small hives on her neck that I had noticed on Friday, but further inspected made me realize that it's not hives, it's f#@$%ing fungus. She rolls So much, in such gross mud, all the time that Prairie has literally given herself scratches on her neck. filthy.
Vowing to break out the anti-fungals after my ride we tacked up, lunged for a second then got to work.
S set a small grid for us (placing pole, big X, bounce to a big X, placing pole). We worked through it as poles on the ground first, and after some oddly balanced trips through both ways we put the rails up.
Prairie tends to be lazy over the jumps and drops her right shoulder. I think this partially has to do with the rein-lameness tension, and partially just because she doesn't have to try over the height we jump.
It's not horrid, but it's not straight either and it impacts our landing, balance and certainly isn't doing us any favors with our changes.
So, for the grid, my entire focus was getting the mare into the grid straight, and keeping her there.
Easier said than done.
To the mare's credit (and not to sound like a broken record), two months ago we couldn't quietly canter 4 poles, let alone in and out of a small line. So it's a testament that we're nitpicking straightness as an issue instead of just trying to install some brakes. (celebrate the small victories).
The line was set closer to one end of the ring than the other, which meant that coming in on the right lead I had more time to get her straight going in, but she anticipating a quick turn when we landed and really wanted to drop that right shoulder and zoom around the corner.
To the left - we had the opposite problem. I had only two strides coming out of the corner to get straight and try to keep us from drifting left to right as we went. Prairie is inherently straighter to the left, so that made it a bit easier but it did change the exercise slightly.
To the right, What finally got us a bit straighter was widening my hands, and opening her stride a bit. That seemed to give me some energy to funnel. Also, I focused on a square turn out of the corner and really catching her shoulder then supporting with some inside leg.
Right lead, longer approach, but notice the dropped shoulder:
Right lead, slightly better, less rotation:
To the left, a bigger stride led to worse drifting and me losing her outside shoulder in the shorter approach. I felt less "rotation" of a dropped shoulder, but also more drift.
Oddly, this seemed to be improved with a smaller, bunched up stride with a more upright frame. I focused on almost no release with my outside rein and keeping firm support.
All in all - productive. Even if we didn't fix anything, it was a good exercise in me adapting to what Prairie needs over fences and adjusting my support for her. I reiterate that I was thrilled at how calm and balanced she was through the exercise and how we never (ever) scooted as we landed from the fences.
It must be too cold for the gerbils. Maybe they are hibernating??
and because I had fun watching it again and because it seems like I shouldn't totally ignore a first anniversary, here's the 6min "movie trailer" from the wedding. Really!? it's been a year!??
Carie + Eric from Aaron Horton on Vimeo.