The Archives 8/9/08 – 1/1/09 Sparkle

8/9/08
When we returned from Kottas, Sparkle had most of the week off from real work. A couple of hacks was all she wanted to do.

This week, she had some nice, uphill canter and it was feeling easy! Woot! Her walk has changed, even out in pasture, she is more forward….and incidentally, finding more things to spook at.

Today, it was jumping day. Sparkle did pretty good, but she objected to the 3′ vertical, by simply jumping it at 2’6″ or so, and sending the top rail flying. After 2x of that, I had it lowered to 2’8″ and it was fine. She is seeming to have fun with the jumping now. Pictures will be up later.

8/11/08
So ridiculously cute!
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just warming up over the crossrail.
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please note I am clearing the cups where the 3′ rail will be…
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But really, to go from a cross rail, to 3′ with nothing between is just rude!
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I am tidy, especially with my knees.
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Amazing what getting a wide enough saddle did for her willingness over fences!
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9/22/08
Sparkle appears to have pulled her inner groin on her RH.

She was stiff going right on Weds…scheduled Tina for her on Sunday. Friday, the plans were to ride after shoes. She has something vague in her hind end, she has a hard time holding up her hinds for the farrier. It comes across as being stubborn, but she isn’t that kind of girl, but, I’ve aced her (so long as no show is on the horizon) for him in the past and it seems to make her struggle less. Well, this time, I went around, to do some stretching…after the asst couldn’t even get the RH shoe off, and finally got her to stretch a bit…and then I started to feel up her leg, and the inside muscle was rock hard. It was like a charlie horse, and she was not fond of it being poked. I made a snap decision to give her 10cc of banamine IV to hopefully help it before we got to that foot, and I think it worked.

She did not get worked, and had Sat. off, then Sunday too, as Tina found it reactive both on the inside and outside muscle. Above the stifle though.

Poor pony. If she doesn’t look better in a day or two with rest, I’ll have the vet out, but this is pretty obviously muscle….just that I still worry that she is a shivers horse. Vet/Chiro did not think that a few months ago, but she does better w/ a cup of rice bran added to her daily feed (about 1/4 cup pellets). Not a huge amount of fat, but more.

She is not pleased to be in the small paddock. And, she seems to be compensating for the soreness, but being more on the forehand and making her shoulders sore.

I’m also starting to think a lyme test might be in order…
11/9/08
Since Sparkle is back in work with the dictate “she needs the exercise”, I will try out that exercise with the 10m canter, 20m counter canter out. I might need to drop my cones down for 20m when I’m doing counter canter, I CANNOT seem to hold a round circle. I get too wide, then end up squaring the corners too much, which is harder…blah blah.

I might end up trace clipping Sparkle. She does get pretty sweaty when she works, and has the wardrobe necessary for it, but I’ll wait and see how she progresses. She is still barefoot and other than chipping where the nail holes were, she seems ok. I may leave her barefoot through winter, get her shoes back on in March or so. As always, I’ll decide w/ the farrier.
12/2/08
Sparkle got her shoes back on. All 4.

Tonight, she got to go for our Lauren lesson and it was good.

Sparkle is tight, tight, tight. She holds her back locked a bit, and doesn’t like to stretch a lot. Much of me wonders how much of that is the metabolic issues she has, and tonight, I have to think….a LOT is due to those metabolic issues.

She has been much more willing to work and go foward with the diet change and addition of thyroid-L.

We started out cold…my friend’s horse was NQR and so her lesson was cut short and I ended up starting earlier than planned. But, we did some w/t, then added in some leg yield. She was being too quick, and just flying sideways, so after a couple of trips down the longside, Lauren had me pull that leg yield onto a circle. That slowed her down and made it infinitely harder. And, it made her start to loosen her back up. We did that both ways, and I could feel some elasticity coming into her back, and she was stretching down more. Then, it was onto some canter work. Small amounts of spiral in/out on the circle in canter. The canter was harder and definitely not uphill much of the time, but it was improving as we went on. Down the quarterline and working on staying straight in canter, circling when it was getting crooked (LOVE the mirrors). Then, it was back to trotting, and doing a 3 loop serpentine, keeping the same bend. Don’t let the counterbent loop in the middle turn into a leg yield.

Sparkle was great. It was a good lesson and Lauren thinks she looks better than the last time she saw her, which has been a while. Bali has been the star for a few weeks.

No trace clip yet, and given how cold this winter is predicted to be (Farmer’s Almanac) I think I’ll just use the Thermatex and fleece coolers to cool her out if she gets sweaty.

12/5/08
Little Miss is doing well. She is getting steadier in contact, but today, she was having some issues, likely related to discomfort, in the left lead canter. Heading to lots of leg movement, not so much forward, along with drama. I also decided to start adressing my tendency to lean a bit too much on the left stirrup and had crossed my stirrups for the cantering.

Good work out for me. We changed directions and had what felt like a single, clean change (not her forte) and continued on. She was better going right and after some right suppling, we went back to left and the canter was much better. I think there was definitely some tightness going on somewhere.

After that she was really willing to stretch down and out at the trot, even when sitting. Most excellent.

We went for a little hack across the road and the galloping ponies in the two pastures got her feeling fresh again, so I decided to use it, and so I asked for contact and forward in the boingy trot that she was using. She had to show off for those muddy horses!

Without the stirrups, I couldn’t lean so much, so my saddle stayed square better.
1/1/09
Lesson with Lauren today! Almost a month since the last one. Sparkle was fabulous. She came off the trailer, and got chilly when I stripped her blanket so we went right to work (I was late so it isn’t like we’d have been standing around anyway)…

Worked with some lateral/leg yield work at the walk, on the circle. Working on getting her to stretch the base of her neck, she is quite tight there. Then, worked on similar at the trot, both ways. Started to do some change directions, with swapping to new leg yield, then regular trot and adding in some overbending of the neck, both inside and outside…this was a great warmup. She really offered to stretch down a lot, then I asked her to pick her head up and keep a higher head position for longer periods of work.

At the canter, I am STILL leaning/stepping left more (Lauren asked me “is your saddle off to the left?” yes, yes it is….let me fix that), so I crossed my stirrups, and we did the rest of the lesson sans stirrups. Lauren says I’m her only student who offers to take my stirrups off. After finding out that she did have an Ice Boot insert I could borrow for the ride home (my back is rather ouchy since my Rx for NSAIDS ran out) I also sat the trot when we finished canter work. I surprised myself in seeing that I did maintain my leg position in canter quite nicely (Love the mirrors), in sitting trot it would degrade a bit more.

Cantering, we worked on going down the long side in shoulder fore, I am to open my inside rein to invite her shoulder over, if she gets overwhelmed, go to a 10m circle, return to straight line, and after she brings the shoulder over, I bring my hand back to see if she can maintain it there. We did this a bit, both ways, collected her canter a smidge more then I demonstrated her canter/walk, and as it is obedient, but a bit abrupt, we spent a bit of time on that. Worked on keeping it forward, finding the right level of whoa and go to step into the walk. We used a 10m circle heading into the wall to get a couple of C/W and then back to center line. She was doing them nicely and then we added in “almost come to walk, then continue”…a strong half halt, she called it a 3/4 halt.

As we were working on this, Lauren says “So…showing this year, I’m thinking 2nd level”…wow! I had hopes that we could be there, but was starting to think I was smoking something in my dreams…and Lauren is ok that we’ll get the customary ding for being a stock horse build if I’m ok with it.

After we finished our canter work, it was onto trot work, leg yields, those were lovely, and then it was onto shoulder in! And then shoulder in to renvers….screeching halt….explain this one to me, I was having a hard time wrapping my brain around what I needed to do and rather than screw up by asking for the wrong thing, we stopped, discussed it…renver is shoulder in, then change the bend to the outside, maintaining the same three tracks. To me, it is like a haunches in with the shoulders on the inside track. I have to switch my aids, subtly to contain the hindquarters and shoulders and still get the new bend. It went better on the 2nd side, I think largely because I, the rider, was clearer and starting to get the finesse of the movement down. Despite my being late, the next rider was even more late so I still got in a full 45 minutes. I was done with no stirrups, so put them back down and finished my lesson with some lovely FDO work.

I feel that my regular lessons have been excellent and I’m definitely going to continue them. Next Tuesday will be my last lesson of my first block of 10. Luckily, my signing bonus was in my first paycheck, so I can go ahead and start again without a lapse. I had thought I might have a one week or two week lapse while waiting on my cashflow to recover from a new car and the holidays.

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About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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