Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fresh as Cool Winter Day

The rain was back last weekend. We wanted to get a ride in, but it was too threatening to ride out (yes, we are sissies) so we set up a little trail course out back. The girls wanted to work on some of the things from the Matt Sheridan seminar at EA and I wanted to work on something I saw Craig Cameron do. It was a simple little exercise using the fence. We ride down the fence at a trot and I just bend her nose in and as soon as she turning, I let go of the rein. The idea is to get her a more flexible and working off her back end.

We had waited until the afternoon in the hopes the weather would clear. By the time we got the horses cleaned up we were running out of day. There wasn't much time for groundwork. I yielded and flexed her, called it good and hopped in the saddle.

Almost instantly I could feel her "freshness". We hadn't ridden for three weeks and I got the feeling she could have gone another three weeks and it wouldn't have bothered her at all. She was a bit put out by the whole ordeal. We started with the bending exercise and she was heavy as a sack of wet cement. We worked on that for awhile, then trotted some circles, her tail swishing the whole time.

After about 10 minutes I went over to the fence and began the exercise. As I lifted the rein to turn her into the fence her head went straight up. I finally got her turned and the other direction was about the same. We kept doing it until she didn't just fling her head in the air. It got "okay", but it never got "good".

We trotted over the poles the girls had set up and she was speedy and full of beans so we did some more bending and tried it again. Then we side-passed in an L-shape. That she actually did pretty well.

It had started to sprinkle and I still wanted to do a lope. We went to the wide part of our area and I asked for the canter. She took off fast so I bent her around and went the other direction. She was fast again, and again we changed directions. Then again, and again. When I bent her down to change directions she put her head down and kicked up. We immediately went into some fast hindquarter yielding, then I asked for the canter again. It was slower, not slow and I tried just making the circle smaller. That didn't help much. We kept at it for about 10 minutes and she was starting to sweat up. I did another change of direction and she took off slow enough for me to end on something of a good note.

Ah, yes, I love my spunky little mare...for now...
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