Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Weight of Seat Aids and Frozen Willies

Good note: Swelling has reduced however not completely. Hoping to see improvement as the week goes and not have to call the vet. Trainer isn't sure why he is the way he is, but to keep an eye on it. She thought maybe frostbite, but there is no change in skin color or any damage to be seen.

However the main part of this blog is the simple yet complicated realization I achieved today during my riding lesson.

Seat aids have always eluded me. I don't know if it's because I am still unstable at times in the saddle, or the fact they were never taught to me until now and I have a lot of bad habits to undo...

Today we were working on lateral movements at the walk and trot. I had a lot of trouble getting him to bend/move to the right (moving left) in the lateral movements. My trainer pointed out that my weight (seat bones) were on the side of my cueing leg, not the opposite.

I swapped the seat bones (I looked like I was going to fall off according to her), and suddenly we were moving left much easier with some bend. It'll take some time as the right is his bad side anyway, but we'll get there!

We worked on where my seat needs to be through a few other exercises which increased his and I's ability to complete them.

He and I also managed to get some walk/trot calmly on the lunge! Big improvement. He's still very nervous of the lunge whip and extremely against any lunge work ( I think he was waaaay over NH'd by a past owner). We do short sessions with lots of praise.

Stay warm everyone!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Polar Vortex...

The past month has been.... well it's been hell frozen over. With temps in the single digits, ice and snow on the roads and just horrid weather, I haven't been riding as much as I would like even with the indoor.

However apparently this horrible cold has done even more than just... well... freeze everything.

Ashe has a swollen sheath. Yes. His sheath. Face palm anyone?

Most horses, when they are cooped up indoors for lengthy periods of time stock up in their legs. Quite normal.

Apparently he has continued to prove he is not normal, as well as give me a heart attack until I heard back from my trainer. No heat, just the very front of it, no pain, all clean.... yup most likely he's just stocked up in a strange place.

Go figure.

So now I get to hand walk him on days it's too cold to ride. Hand walking is his equivalent to "PLAAAAAAAAY".... needless to say I think I got as much of a workout as he did today. Hopefully we'll see an improvement soon!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Doing the Cha-Cha...

All this winter weather (and the new year) had got me thinking about preparing for the spring, and the goals I want to work on with Ashe. I had a whole list of goals for us, ready to prepare for our first event in the spring.

Today he shattered everything when he seemed to have a regression moment with the lunge whip. I didn't have time to ride, so I figured we'd do some in hand lunge work including some lunge jumping. Not a lot, but enough to get him to stretch and thinking about working.

He was always nervous with crops/whips... but he generally tolerated them. Today we had complete flight reflex the first time I even tossed the whip line near him when he didn't listen to my cue to trot. Sideways panic, head in the air, eyes and nose wide...

What was going to be a half hour time at the barn turned into two hours. I hated to reschedule my errands but I wasn't about to leave without him being okay with the whip near him. Eventually I got close, then rubbed it all over him, tapped it... his flanks were especially sensitive, flinching at the slightest touch of the end of the whip.

He's still wary of it but we were able to rub it all over, tap it, walk and trot both directions without a blow up... progress... The things I do for my lovely 11yo who has the green mind of a 4yo.

So after having my lovely goals re-written in the space of five minutes... here are our goals. They are less lofty, but they cover the basics.

1. Work on the lunge line with whip without panic. This includes being touched by said whip.

2. Stand single tied. He is a panic puller. We've purchased a blocker tie ring for training so crossing fingers!

3. Bending. As the prelim rider (friend of a friend at the barn) who tried him out said "he's like a little sports car! Lots of power in a small package. Unfortunately he also turns like one." So bending, bending and more bending!

If we can do these three by spring... I'm sure we'll be ready for our first show!