Monday, March 23, 2009

Upping the Ante

After last weeks brilliant lesson with Holly, I've spent some reflection time on my horses back.

First discovery - nothing with horses happens overnight.

This is not so much a discovery as a re-affirmation to something that I should already know, but sometimes fail to remember. I guess it's kind of like those people who jump a gazillion times in warmup before their showjump round, hoping that by some miracle their horse is going to learn how to jump at an angle in that 30 minutes. Well, I may not be that bad, but I do need to realize that although P-man may be ready for a bit of a higher frame and more packaging, that perhaps the day that I wait until black storm clouds are visible on the horizon may not be the day to ask for it.

P-man kindly informed me that 'packaging' was not going to be happening in the time frame we had, and I put up little argument.

Since then, however, we have been working at working harder -- how's that for a gameplan? He's actually doing quite well, considering I took the liberty to remind him that if he spends to many rides fighting to stay behind my leg, then I can very easily car a dressage whip. Dressage whips are not his friend.

Because my riding space is literally in a field, I have to work very hard to make his world a little smaller in preparation for the dressage ring. I do this by riding very close to the cross-country fences, which he - for some reason - will jump over with gusto, but spooks at during flat work. The spooking action allows me to focus on controlling his feet, and thus we have a dressage ring! (all of this from the wonderful suggestion of my mom, who is my most brilliant coach although she is in the homeland of Illinois).

WELL, mister full-of-himself has been politely informing me that dressage work for nearly a week straight, is entirely unexceptable in our work program, and has taken to mid-stride 90 degree turns to try and jump the log. This movement results in a pulling reaction from me, which results in a stiffening action from him, which completely disrupts our canter. BOO.

He has also taken to LEAPING the canter poles that are supposed to be helping him lengthen his stride. Maybe I'll have to let the poor boy jump or do a canter or something this evening.

In the last couple of rides, I have also realized that he have lost our pumping-trot-lengthening, which I believe means we needed another injection -- it makes me excited to know I found what works for his long-raced-on joints and that it's a simple solution to keeping him lubed up and sound. Thanks to Dr. Kate of Lombardi Equine ( who has working with me this spring to work out what we need for his well-being.... and congrats to her for her new baby girl, born March 13th!!!!!!!

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