The Archives 3/5/08 – 3/21/08

3/5/08
After lunging, I had an easy ride (for me) in mind, it seems I pulled a muscle in my back yesterday. Probably during the “no big deal” spook from Jules. I was very slow moving this morning, partially the drugs, partially being cautious to not tweak an already pulled muscle.

So, with that in mind, I started with some walk halt. Halt, ZOOM head to the sky. Round at the halt is missing. This gives me my low-impact session. So, whenever I want a horse to be round at the halt, I often go back to my Mark Rashid lessons. Focusing on the “try” and then rewarding the try. I’ve found that this often lets you teach a concept with very little drama. So, we do walk/halt, head comes up. We stand, while I quietly ask for some flexion and head down. This produces a bit of pulling, jaw twisting, head twisting, all because until now, just stopping has been all that was asked, so she was simply offering up a small objection to this change on my part….telling me “hey, I did what you always wanted, now what are you wanting?” The steps the horses go through is fairly consistent, pull, set jaw, twist head, offer to back up, but the key to this IMO, is to keep it low key. So, the second she offers a bit of flexion, even if it is not intentional, I release. The, her little brain is whirring, “hmm, what did I do to get that?” and she offers a bit more. The incremental ask for more, release now, is always a mental timing game. Excellent for honing the reflexes. After establishing that she could be round at the halt, we did some more walk/halts. At first, accepting the head UP, because she was coming back to round reasonably well. Then, it was time to up it a tiny bit more. Ask for halt, BUT, as soon as the head comes up, ask to keep going, and down goes head. We did this a couple of times, and it took us almost the entire long-side to come to a halt, but it was accomplished without losing her roundness.

Then, it seemed like a good time to do some walk/trot/walk/trot, she stays round in this nicely, so we did w/t/w/h then w/t/h/w/t/h. At the very end, we did a few t/c/t/c but not many. This was a very mental ride, for baby. She was great though, stays very focused.

I’ll stick with these things until my pulled muscle heals, since I don’t think I can work on lateral movement. The muscle that is pulled would be working too much.

One thing that was interesting to note, was that when lunging, she was very stiff, but when I attached the side reins, she immediately started to work towards a less-stiff trot and was engaging her hindquarters better.

I’m starting to hope that saddle I ordered shows up before the weekend, so I can get a ride in it. Even if it does not fit Bali, I’ll put it on a horse it does fit to see if I like the model. That way I will know if I want to order this one or not.
3/7/08
Le Sigh..the wide tree saddle is not wide enough for Bali & Sparkle. Sparkle is a stoic and did not complain about it, Bali had large amounts of head twirling that I’m thinking was related to the saddle. She was not awful and with babies, it is hard to say…is it behavior or comfort? Because ya know…it could be either. But, since I didn’t feel that it was wide enough, I am chalking it up to saddle NQR. The 17″ seat fits me perfectly.

So, they have an XW in stock in a 16.5, but there is no way I’m going to a 16.5. And, I don’t feel the need to have the XW shipped to try it, so, once idhokie gets here to sit in the 17″ and I see how bad it will be for her, I’ll order an XW. Takes about 4 weeks is all. Lovely flocking and leather. I’m leaning towards the 17″ seat, it was really comfy and is a fairly flat model.

I did not lunge Bali today, I wanted to get the saddle onto both horses to make my decision on fit.

I thought I was past the “christmaslike” feel of a new saddle showing up, but it seems I’m not. I had to dig into the box immediately and admire the saddle.

3/12/08
I did order a saddle for miss Baliboo. And, can I just say, I’m impressed with Trumbull Mt. Tack Shop! They had already ordered the saddle that they *thought* I’d be ordering, and they guessed right! 17″ XW Quantum X. They were guessing on my 17 or 17.5 decision, and to be honest, even if idhokie didn’t fit the 17, I probably would have told her to suck it up and deal or buy her own saddle! #teufel141#

Anyway, enough of logistics. I had not taken down the exercise from my lesson yesterday on Jules, and so I thought it would be a lovely exercise for Bali. I skipped lunging, and the first canter depart was exuberant but she was good. Still working for the correct bend, she still wants to both counter bend AND cut the circles to smaller than I want, but she is progressing.

The walking and trotting over the poles, totally a non issue. I had no ground person so I did not progress to a cross rail, the walk halt stuff was perfect reinforcement for last week’s stay round during downward transitions. Then, the walk/trot was getting her all soft and bendy. She did not even bat an eye at the stacked poles on the ground, la di da, of course I go over. In fact, toward the end, she kept gravitating towards the poles and wanting to cross them.

We cantered the poles as well and that was also a non issue, so next time, if I have someone around, I will move to a cross rail with Bali.

I can’t wait to have a jump saddle for her. The dressage saddle has huge blocks and so you can’t really lift the stirrups up, not to mention, my dressage length is already at the top hole on the leathers (I should probably punch a few more). It has never stopped me from torturing Sparkle with it, but Bali is still young and impressionable.

3/14/08
The pesky counterbend and lack of bend. The impatient part of me wants instant results, the rational brain does kick in to remind the impatient side that muscle development and suppleness takes time.

Bali was good today, I was not feeling well, so I was probably not riding her as forward as I should, but when I asked for more forward, she sometimes stepped into the canter, and there was no drama. Tomorrow, we may take her to a local show, where we will embarrass Mr. Trainer by riding her in a pleasure class in her dressage saddle (all that fits !! ). I’ll see how the weather is looking.

3/17/08
I took Bali with me to the hunter show as well. She wore the only saddle that fits her…Sparkle’s dressage saddle.

She was good, but nervous about the surroundings. She had to call for Jules, and call and call and call.

She did Hunter pleasure. w/t class, w/t/c, and go as you please…which was mostly a walk class for her. She was last in all 3, but that was completely fair. She is [glow=green,2,300][color=Green]GREEN[/color][/glow]

She did nothing bad, did not kick out, handled the crowd reasonably well, but her nerves manifest in the head twirl. So, that does not look very pleasant to ride.

We had this lovely forward trot going, and I went past Michael who says “half that trot”. JJ would have adored that trot….but, my job is to learn what to do in each discipline.

Here she is, since idhokie & Mr. idhokie came along for assistance and grooming…
Jules is that Yoooooouuu?
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3/21/08
I rode Bali tonight. First, we noticed that she was SO.TIRED. when we brought her in. I mean, really, she looked like she needed to curl up and nap for a few hours. But, I tacked her up and took her out to lunge before getting on (a week off for us both). She definitely was moving slow. Not very through, and no head tossing at all. But the dentist was out yesterday, so perhaps the teeth were it! She needs to move to a 6 month schedule for a couple of years until she is grown up. After a very sedate lunging session, I hopped on, and the first thing I see from above is a MASSIVE welt on the right side of her neck, up almost at the poll. I reach forward to pet and she is hugely sore there.

Hmmm….did she get kicked? Is that why she looks SO.TIRED.? Hmm, well, I went ahead and did a brief w/t/c, and she was good, but definitely could have a headache. So, I just walked around the yard and called it quits. Gave her a bute.

Oh, someone mentioned not bothering to unbuckle the front of blankets, and I’ve been doing that with her new Schneider’s sheet, she is very cute about having her blanket put over her head. I like this, since I hate those buckles.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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