Monday, January 25, 2010

January Week 4

Monday 1/18
Good ride - maybe an hour? Warmed up with a hack down the road. We went down past the driveway then all the way back up, where there are some extremely nice gradual hills. Pandora felt good. Then we rode in the arena, just walk/trot, focusing on getting her to carry herself and soften her jaw. Looking forward to dressage lessons.

Tuesday 1/19
Chiro visit! It went extremely well. He tried a new way of getting at a persistent problem - Pandora's right shoulder - and it made a huge difference. He suggested it could help with the way she wants to hold herself twisted a little bit, swinging her haunches out to the right which we all know is a huge problem.
We tried another new thing too. After I told him how I taught her to back up very well by allowing her to walk straight forward after backing, he said we should try it after adjustments. So every time she successfully completed an adjustment, she got to walk forward a little bit. You could tell it made a big difference! She got extremely cooperative and started walking forward on her own after a good adjustment. If it wasn't successful, she'd just stand there with a very unimpressed look on her face. Silly horse.

Wednesday 1/20
I had a pretty good ride. I wanted to give her plenty of time and space to get used to her just-adjusted body, since she's always a little weird the day after a chiro visit. I longed her with tack first to let her figure things out on her own. She looked pretty good, though still a bit sticky about the canter. I think I will longe her more often to help her develop balance at the canter without the added burden of a rider.
Then I rode for about 45 minutes, just at the walk and trot. Tried some new things, asking her to supple her jaw (like we've been working on in dressage lessons with McKinna) but not lean on me or get fussy. Also working on lightening her to the aids - I shouldn't have to nag to keep her going forward. Looking forward to taking some dressage lessons on her.
The resident trainer was working with a young horse who did some bucking and racing around right after being saddled. She warned us, so I stopped Pandora to let her watch. I don't think she even flicked an ear...definitely not the kind of horse who's fired up by others acting silly!

Thursday 1/21
Longed and rode again, a bit too dark for a hack. 15 longeing, 30 or so riding. Still lots of work to make her canter on the longe but I think if I do it a couple times a week we can make progress and it will translate to improvements under saddle.
Ride was pretty good. Worked on the same stuff, suppling at walk and trot. When I get her going right in terms of softening her jaw and carrying her neck, bend becomes less of an issue (in terms of her wanting to swing her haunches out). This may be the suppling or it may be the chiro adjustment.
Working on having her be light to the aids. Seems to be going well. I will spend more time on this, especially leg-yields at the trot (which I know will get better with strength).
Did a couple canters. It was pretty good, much straighter than it has been, so I think the adjustment did help. She's also much more responsive to trot leg-yields after we've cantered, and I've noticed this in the past.
Have I mentioned that I'm looking forward to dressage lessons??
Pulled a tick off her left hind, near the stifle area. Gross.

Friday 1/22
Our first jumping lesson in what feels like forever, and it went pretty well. Loading in the trailer a bit ugly but we got things worked out - unloading at Poseidon, then the whole trip home was pretty uneventful.
Lesson itself was great. Pandora calm and forward. She's learned the habit I teach her on the ground about spooky things! We walk up to it as she snorts and blows, I kick or pat it so she can hear the sound, and then I say "Say hi!" and she goes up and puts her nose on it to sniff it. Then things are fine. I tried this from the saddle with a Big Scary White Table that was on its side, and she went right up and touched it when I told her to. Very cool.
The jumping was great. Trot fences were very good and I'm going to do lots more of those at home since it doesn't take much room. Cantering a course was a bit haphazard at times, but she did a very good job considering we haven't jumped in THREE MONTHS. My position was a bit terrible - I kept popping up onto my toes and falling forward over the fences, ugh. Time to do some no-stirrups gridwork or something. But, when I did ride correctly, it was great. I got one beautiful half-halt down the middle of a five-stride line. Only happened once, but I can't wait until all my half-halts go through like that.

Saturday 1/23
Long hack. The ride down the road was very nice, except the part where we passed the Llama And Goat Of Doom and we pranced sideways for 100 yards or so. Still, I have to give her credit for going on even in the face of Imminent Death. We'll have to practice that lots as the weather gets nicer.
Then we headed through the front pasture to the cow pasture, which I thought would be drier but wasn't. Pandora REALLY does not like the sloppy grass, it makes her anxious, but she went anyway. Which is good because she's an eventer.
I tried my "say hi!" trick on one of the young cows and she would have done it if he hadn't gotten scared and run away. Cute little bugger.

Sunday 1/24
Rest, with turnout as usual. There's a minor cough going around the barn, ugh, but ours and one other are pretty separate from the rest (they're up in a separate barn) so fingers crossed they stay symptom-free.

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