The white thing on the side of his head is a gauze square wrapped around his bridle because he had a pus filled tick bite that popped and then oozed blood... and I didn't want to get blood on my bridle.
|Stretching out, nose to the sand, after a good work.|
|Out for a hack Sunday morning. Beautiful scenery.|
|So sleepy after one night outside eating ungrazed grass!|
|Hacking to the outdoor.|
|The gelding herd Saturday night.|
|Mikey looks more like the horse on the right at this time when he's just standing. I've got him filling up the whole neck more often like the horse on the left when we're riding now, but I don't think the base of the neck will ever be wider than the top. I'll settle for matching! When I watch horses for throughness, I check to see if the muscles directly behind the saddle pad and the muscles right in front of the shoulder are crunching.|
The result is that every time the rider affects the horse in a half halt, either asking him to come into more collection or do a downward transition, the horse instantly takes himself out of self-carriage.
The weak links in the horse’s bridge of muscle show up immediately causing the bridge to break. The horse’s hind legs may stop as he shortens and lifts his neck while he drops his withers and back. He may stop stepping through the poll by either collapsing at the poll and bringing his chin toward his chest, shortening the neck and coming “behind the bit,” or he may become rigid in the poll as he drops his back and braces against his rider’s hands.
In either case, the rider needs to start over by paying attention to whichever are the weak links in his connection, strengthening them and then persisting in training the horse to half halts and downward transitions again. Successful half halts and downward transitions are the rider’s opportunity to close up the horse’s frame and improve his balance and collection. Sequentially, here’s what happens in the downward transition or half halt:
• The driving aids of your seat and leg send power through the horse’s topline to meet the hand.
• In response to the impulsion, your hand qualifies the energy with a waiting outside rein that says “Don’t go forward faster,” and then the hind legs take a millimeter more of a step than the front, which makes a rounder, more closed-up frame.
• In the moment of increased engagement, you start to feel the horse’s thoracic lift (see sidebar, “When the Bridge is Missing,” pg. 38). He lifts up underneath your hands and seat, becoming rounder in the base of his neck. Olympian Robert Dover says that the feeling reminds him of blowing up a balloon in front of you. At this point, the rider’s half halts tell his horse whether he wants more engagement within a gait or a transition to a different gait—upward or downward.
• Finally you soften your aids to allow the horse to feel a reward for his correct response and to enjoy his expressive body. He goes forward in a shorter, rounder, more pumped up and more elastic shape.I did a little work yesterday on a shorter rein in trot and canter, just to see what would happen. I was thrilled by the push, swing, and the fill in front of the shoulder that I had. He was light, available, and awesome feeling. Most of all he felt strong. Not pulling on me strong, just an I feel good strong.
|Mikey tried on his new Back on Track Mesh Sheet last Monday.|
He loves it.
|Back on Track pad. This is after our ride, the girth is loose so everything slipped back.|
I hate how it fits under my saddle. I do not like extra fabric in front of or behind the saddle!
So I won't be buying a white one.
But he seems to like it. It really warms up his back a good bit before we ride.
|Tuesday we rode, hand grazed, then dug ticks off the horse.|
Back on Track poster child. Just needs his no bows on to make it complete.
|"I want to sit in here while you shower. Do I have to let Penny in?"|
|Pre-mulch. We we in the process of smoothing out the crown (on the left) so when we mow the grass, the mower doesn't wack away ground. We just need to plant seed. No after mulch pictures on Friday because we spread mulch my tractor headlight as it was dark by the time we got that far.|
|We're outside! And I didn't get bucked off!|
|Mikey and King. I swear their field has a ton of green grass. I don't know why I always end up taking pictures near the woods.|
|The umbrella tree, all mulched and awaiting grass seed.|
|The big garden bed. Husband removed a dead bush/tree a few weeks ago that was next to the steps. I moved all the little purple hyacinths to the least imaginative configuration possible: all next to each other so they're easy to weed between. I moved some other bulbs so the plant wouldn't get stepped on as we were clearing out all the crap that was in there. We ran out of mulch for this bed, so it has a random empty space until we get more mulch.|
|Panorama of the front, all neat and tidy.|
|To the right: the side we worked on. It's missing mulch, but the planter to the right has to come out because there's stumps in it from bushes we hacked down last summer. No use mulching it yet.|
To the left: An untouched garden bed. Full of leaves, weeds and other undesirable things. That's the next project. That is also how the big garden bed looked before Sunday.
|Photo collage made by one of my trainer's students from pictures from the professional photographers.|
|A selfie in Cody's tack stall? Well when we weren't supposed to be there, so yea, duh!|
|8, 9a, 9b- Coffin complex. Hedge, one stride, ditch, one stride, hedge. It was so steep down to the ditch, the pic doesn't do it justice.|
|11- Ditch and wall. F***ing big ditch and F***ing big wall. The damn wall kept growing as we walked closer and closer. Hard to force your brain to read it as an 8ft ditch paired with 'only' a 4.5 foot rise or so. All I was seeing was a huge wall. But that's the trick isn't it? Seeing it as the actual jumping effort instead of the mind boggling 8' wall?|
|Wall. That is all.|
|Cabins and the Head of the Lake complex. After watching it for years on tv, it wasn't as big as we thought it was.|
Kind of a let down!
|The Mounds. up a mound, jump through the keyhole, down the mound, pick a side of the angled brush and up the mound and over. More huge shrubberies to jump.|
|The Land Rover Hollow.|
Over the log, down a freaking steep hill, skinny (almost taller than my trainer) brush, then up to a corner.
|Fallen tree. We were like, big tree. Nothing ground breaking.|
|Until we got to this side. Gotta make sure you really jump across it, there's more ditch on the landing side than the takeoff.|
|This margarita was amazing.|
|We oogled William Fox Pitt and Bay My Hero.|
|Then we got a smile from our trainer as they went by. She just realized we were sitting there.|
|Got treated to the awesome extended trot Cody show.|
|Jump 3. Wide airy oxer with a ditchy feel.|
|Walking through the Frog Pond. Trainer was trying to walk the distance and Whiskey (her Jack Russel) wasn't sure she could walk in the water so she waddled/dog paddled through.|
|Coffin complex again.|
|"Mandy, your jump is to your left!!"|
|I took Whiskey for most of the walk. We stopped at the new Footbridge for a drink and cool off dip.|