Bali is very happy to pull herself around, with her front legs, on the forehand. That large engine back there is for looks only, it doesn’t need to actually do any work, right?
In my long, slow path to a USDF Silver medal, I’m working on developing more sit, more collection and more lift in those withers. I’ve been working on it a little bit, in every ride, and today I had a lesson with Joanna, who is really good on the ground with a whip, touching Bali to encourage her to lift her front legs and chest more, we’ve done this enough that Bali, being quite smart, knows what is coming and she literally starts to lift her withers and do the horse equivalent of sitting up straighter as soon as the first touch happens.
We started out with a couple of ground poles, to encourage her to lift her feet more, just integrating them into our warm up. After we were warmed up, we moved onto Joanna helping me from the ground, keep that hind leg activity. Some leg yields, some steep, some more shallow. Keeping the uphill feeling, a little more connection in the side we were going towards.
We did canter transitions with the piaffe whip in front of her, and it really helped me get a feel for the steps, not letting it drop forward, but lift upwards into the canter.
Joanna suggested I do a bit of the same work, in hand, with Bali, and that is a good idea, and a skill I’ll definitely need to practice. I plan on discussing this, because I’ve not done much close, in hand work. I’ve done long-line work, but every time I do something new, there is a new coordination to figure out.
There was a lot of feeling and trying to remember the feel in today’s lesson, so not all that exciting to write up. Towards the end, Bali was tired and literally couldn’t do the last haunches in at the canter, we switched sides, and she did it there. It is winter and while we’ve been working 5-6 times a week, they’ve been a little shorter, and this was like a tough, weight lifting session today.
I’m also reminding myself that Bali is 13, I am going to talk to my vet, I think it might be time for her to get hocks looked at, possibly injected. She works hard, and has never had anything besides a couple of rounds of Adequan. Her right hind has always been weaker, and she’s done well with good work, but she works hard, tries her heart out, and if she can be even happier in her work with some hock injections, she deserves it.
Bali is the best.