Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I tried really, really hard to think of a title for this post that would accurately summerize my ride last night.  But I couldn't. 

"Relative Successes?" maybe.  but it wasn't really a "success" per se.
"Stormy Nights?"  Maybe.  but it wasn't that stormy out, and the ride wasn't awful.
"Lesson recap?" yeah, I guess. I mean... I had a lesson.

Basically, I decided that "Tuesday" was about as specifically accurate as I was going to get. 

So ta-da.

The day and ride were just sort of "blah."  Typically cloudy, spitting rain, Seattle day.  The barn was empty, and P was mostly subdued.  I threw her in the ring to let her bounce around if she wanted to...

She didn't.

So I pulled her back in to groom.  Lazy, kinda chilly, groom.  Not so bad, but not so thrilling either.

The Boy's mom showed up to watch us go.  She's super, super nice and had her fair share of lessons back in the day, so she's always a welcome visitor at the barn...  She pumped P full of carrots (and me full of brownies) before we even got going (uh oh) so both of us were jostling around on treat filled tummies.

P lunged nicely (super calm) and even started great (relaxed walk, WHAT??).  She was stinky/sticky about moving into the trot, but then fairly well behaved once we were there.  Serpentines, loops, circles, the usual.  We really focuses on F O R W A R D.  The theme of the day was that when I asked for push, she had to push and that we wouldn't be picky about what gait.  Lengthend trot? sure! Pop into the canter? fine....  Just as long as she wasn't sucking back, we accepted what she gave us. 

This made for a trickier warm up than we intended, as I wouldn't usually make her do canter leg yields, or counter canter loops.. but she did.  and miraculously, she wasn't that cranky about them.  All in all, I was pretty pleased with her early work.  She accepted my leg, chewed on her vetwrap bit, and had some nice moments of impulsion. 

After our first break, we went to pick on her counter canter again in order to deliberately focus on it.  I haven't revisited this exercise in a couple weeks.. so I wasn't too sure how it was going to go, but I didn't need to worry since we never even got there....

Before I could even ask P to support herself on the off lead, she started some tantrums and was blowing through my outside leg on the open side of the circle (again).  At the trot I can kick her back into line, but in the canter, my increased outside leg was met by a squeal, kick and crow hop. 

Bad mare.

SOOOOOOO we abandoned the exercise, got her moving and made her listen to my outside (in this case, left leg).  Canter leg yields, tight circles, and changing the bend.  The theory was if she's going to object to a supportive outside leg, she not only has to tolerate increased leg pressure, but she has to work harder than what I was initially asking for. 

This sparked a series of arguments, and began the downward spiral of dumpster diving with her face (solution, GALLOP), busting through my leg (solution, lateral work NOW) and stinkiness about moving forward (solution, halt/trot transitions, and LENGTHENINGS).

This worked pretty well, and the rest of the lesson was a fast pace reaction to whatever she threw at us.  Lots of variety, adjustments and deviations from a planned exercise. 

Example:  She blows through my leg... So I push her into a leg yield right away.  She dumpster dives to avoid holding herself up... I throw my hands at her and push her forward.... she ignores my half halts to come back, we do halt/trot transitions... then circle.. she blows through my leg... etc etc.

I worked hard.  The mare worked harder, and at the end, we had 5 minutes of uninterrupted gorgeous working trot. 
Let me repeat that:

We had 5 minutes of uninterrupted gorgeous working trot 
 (If I could make this font blink, I would...)

I even got to sit really deeply on her and do some baby lengthenings and collections with just my seat.  She was soft and forward and giving and super responsive.  I messed up and asked for too much on the first one and we lost our pretty, perfect balance.  So I took it down a notch since we were going on an hour of some serious work.  Quit while you're ahead, right??
Decent day.  Not bad, a little frustrating at times, but we had some nice little moments together.  All in all? a Tuesday... 
PS- I toyed around with one of those online publishing companies and had the first six months of the blog printed up.  Sounds weird I know, but it came out beautifully.  It's fun to have on hand for the non horsey people in my life... I'm going to try to remember to do 6 month installments.. but we'll see.  The company is called blurb, and I'd highly recommend them. 
 Cute book!


  1. Go with the good, don't worry about the bad!

    Like the idea of printing up your blog - looks nice!

  2. I never would have thought of using vet wrap on a bit, but it sounds like it's working, very interesting. One word of advice if you end up going with a happy mouth, for some reason they seem to pinch the corners of their mouths no matter what cheek piece it is, so I'd get rubber bit guards too if you go that route.

    Great idea about putting the blog into a book! So cute!

  3. Sounds like a good ride to me :) 5 minutes of lovely trot work is worth hours of challenging riding.

    Love the book idea - thanks for the tip !


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