The Archives 6/8/09 – 11/20/09 Sparkle

So, I need to work on my nerves and “I suck” attitude. ::) 😛 It is ridiculous that I get nervous for dressage shows…more so than for jumper shows. I get a bit nervous for jumping, but I get over it faster once I’m there.

I bought a book at WC on sports psychology, and I finally was going through the pile o papers that came with it and was reading that most riders who go for sessions with the author are their own worst enemy. And, it said that they are good riders, but overly self critical. I never do that…no, not me, the “I suck at dressage and will never break 60%”…no not at all.

So, anyway, with my support crew’s commentary, I realized that I don’t warm up well in crowded rings because I am stressing over the traffic, so instead of getting my horse round and focusing on MY ride, I fret about not getting in anybody else’s way. So, for the second round, I went to the less crowded ring to warm up.

Anyway, since I need to get some work done, the pictures!

Queen of great warmup pics.
left leg not as bad on Sparkle, but still, not great…and I realized, even though it is the same saddle for both (fits both) I need my stirrups shorter on Bali, which will help me w/ my leg.
Lengthinging is FUN on Sparkle
This must be the 3 loops serpentine where we are entering the counter canter piece…and look at her pretty braids!
And, I need to get to fixing my left side. Another back injection is scheduled, and I think I might need to hit up the personal trainer in the gym at work. Because really…I am making my horses crooked. Notice the left leg, not as long and the heel not down…fucking back and nerve issues…I blame that as a partial cause…
On bali, almost 100% of the pictures show her head tilted left…and that is the way Sparkle tilts, and that is the .



Lesson tonight. I really had to focus on my left leg. It HAS been short for a long time. It is still numb/tingly after my lesson. I had to focus so hard on my left leg that it was hard to do simple things like counter bend for a stride or two…and oh yeah, the right leg, it is still there. The head tilt, I think that is because Sonya busted me on collapsing, but missed the leg part…so I was managing to stay tall in the rib cage, but then holding a bit with the left and not using the left leg. So, the first 10 minutes of my lesson were me with a mental mantra “left leg down, left leg down” and then I’d notice the head tilt and release/unlock the left shoulder, which seems to go hand in hand for me, with staying tall on the left.

On our medium canter to collected canter transition (or lengthened to working…whichever) I also need to stay soft in my elbows during the downward transition.

Oh, and possibly the best advice…”In my professional opinion you need to ride the horse, not the test”.

Good lesson, a bit late and delayed due to the fact that we had wicked storms rolling through at my normal departure time. I called to ask if I could be late, or just cancel. We did late.

Tomorrow morning I’ll work on longer leg w/ Bali, and when I get around to jumping length, I’ll have to play with the feel of longer left leg there.

Sparkle had a lovely outting for her next show then, I stupidly cut back her Thyro-L to 1 scoop a day, my last try on the tapering doses, and she had a huge flare-up. So, back to 3 scoops a day, hard core diet management (muzzle, soaked hay, very little time out). Lauren’s vet thought it sounded like classic tie-up symptoms, but a week out, when her muscles were still super tight, we pulled blood and her CK levels were normal, so it doesn’t seem like this is classic rhambdamyolisis (sp?).

So, fast forward 3 weeks of mostly rest, back to work a bit too soon, slid back for a few days, then back to work again, and Sparkle is radiating energy…some of it badness!

Today, we went out on a ride, mostly walk/trot, but then we got to a canter stretch and Sparkle was bucking sideways and having a good time of it. I got jostled loose a bit, yelled at her that she couldn’t dump me, I had no helmet, and she went to a more forward bucking canter. Then, she just had a tiny Sparkle gallop, and we had the most forward trot she’s had in ages coming back around. She feels great again and at the end, her muscles were still soft and normal, she had no abnormal sweating or distress. I should not laugh when she does her bronco routine, but I was so happy that she felt good, so my chastising her lacked oomph.

So, YAY on being over the latest in crisis….but, nobody knows why she slides back so badly w/out the Thryo-L, but the theory is that perhaps it bumps her metabolism enough to help her process whatever it is in her muscles that makes them tight/knotted.

I’ve taken to reading up on muscle disorders in humans also, and next time she flares, I’ve got 3 vials to fill w/ blood to run to the vet for CBC+chemistry panel, Electrolytes and one other vial, might be the chemistry panel piece. For now, she is back to her normal, with some evil pony poking through. I had to trade her & Bali’s stalls because Sparkle has decided that Romeo is not a suitable neighbor anymore. Squeal, kick, squeal kick for ages…so I moved her cranky self over. Perhaps she’s becoming mare-ish as she is 11 now.

Sparkle’s journal has been sparse, since she has been in light work, waiting on the muscular myopathy flare-up to subside.

But, today, I was able to do a full, work schedule, including canter/counter canter, shoulder-in, renvers (or is it travers), haunches in, leg yields, a couple of trot lengthenings, and she felt fabulous!!!!! Not only that, after all that work, she was barely damp!!! (sweating TOO much is a sign that she is distressed, I have no worries of anhydrosis).

Go Sparkle Pony!!!!

I’m stretching her hind legs for her-pre-ride, and a good indication that things are unlocking is when she relaxes and doesn’t fight the stretch.

I had a break there in lessons because of college, but then I got a bonus, so I’m back in lessons! Woot!

So, tonight, my plan was “call Bali” and take her. Bali said she didn’t want to go though, and Sparkle came trotting up with the rest, and so I took Sparkle.

Sparkle has come a long way, but when I have a long time between lessons, I backslide a bit. I don’t get her as through, as on the bit, just not quite enough. So, tonight, we worked on a longer neck, more on the bit, and getting her back soft.

She objected for the first few minutes, but then she kicked into action and was super good and trying hard. Like most horses she is left sided, and so cantering left was easy, counter cantering left, was pretty good. Cantering right, she was tight. Not through her back, so we tried for some shoulder fore while cantering down the longside. It wasn’t happening. So, then Lauren asked me to canter a Renvers….and I got all confused over what that was and the first time down the long side, I was not asking for the correct bend. I was bad and did not fess up that it was terrible because I never did ask for the correct bend. Next long side, it was better, I was getting my L/R confusion straightened. And soon, it was almost there, but what was cool is that when we straightened, she was straight and using that shoulder.

Sparkle’s main evasions are when it is HARD.

At the end, she was exceedingly pleased with herself, and was walking all around with a bit of a swagger, and she then walked over to the horse in the mirror and had a chat. She’d never done that before, but she seriously enjoyed standing at the mirror, nose to nose with it for several moments. Then, she walked all along the short side admiring herself.

Doxy seems to be working on Sparkle’s over-the-top touchiness. Her Lyme titer was “equivocal” at 198, but I put her on doxy anyway, and within a few days, she felt way better.

I took her last night, and she felt quite nice. A tiny bit tight behind the saddle, but that is more her standard tightness, not her feeling badly.

I worked on keeping the same pace on a straight line as on a curved line in the canter. Riding a slight shoulder fore in canter to straighten her, we did the same test of bending with going down the long quarterline and asking for only her neck to bend left and right. Asking for the inside bend was a bit problematic due to holding too much on the inside rein. Finding the right amount of rein for inside bend without being too much inside rein is difficult.

We worked on some trot shoulder in, working on getting it very correct. It was good. There were a few extra walk breaks since I worry about doing too much with her and her metabolic issues that make her almost-tie up.

She is so fun though, super willing and happy to work. Although, the doxy and the resulting cow-pies are most annoying when she decides to poop in the barn aisle.

Sparkle went again today for a dressage lesson.

With her build, it is VERY hard for her to have her poll be the highest point AND have her back up and engaged and soft, so I was to put her head a bit lower, and make it easier on her.

Today’s lesson was focusing on keeping her hind legs underneath her. Not allowing her to swing out/in/behind, and work on having the base stay narrow under her.

We did some counter canter work, and did not do much lateral work, because she is really solid in that, but needs more longitudinal flexibility.

What I realized today, was that I can now do things that would have taken long, detailed explanations in the past. For instance, when we decided that her head was too high, Lauren told me to “bring her head down lower”, and I just thought it, and obviously did the correct thing, and it happened. Since idhokie was there riding Tanq, she noticed it also and was worried that if she took a lesson, there would be no explanation of the “how”, but it was definitely there earlier. It is really nice to have reached the point of communication with an instructor where a short phrase or word can communicate what she wants. It makes the lesson proceed faster and we get a lot more done. Sometimes, with something new, I do still have to stop and ask what to do with my parts, and there is often a reminder about seat or leg, but it is so nice that I am finally recognizing the feel of a bulging shoulder, falling in haunches, etc.

It was an excellent ride to finish the weekend on!
Cool light effect in this one. Nothing super special about the moment in riding, I’m in a walk-break taking a drink of water.



About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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