This was a hurried post, sorry!
Friday: Work, my trainer's barn Christmas party
Saturday: Barn work, ride, wrap Mikey's hoof, visit a wonderful Irishman's leather shop, get home and clean up for my husband's company Christmas party.
Sunday: Barn work, ride, wrap Mikey's hoof, deal with new truck and trailer set up and get trailer brakes adjusted again, hurry home to host the husband's parents for the afternoon and evening.
Cue here to have breathing problems start up.
Monday: Work from home because I can't breathe, run to the barn after work to wrap Mikey's hoof again, run back home to change and then go to my parent's house for my husband's birthday.
Tuesday: Work from home because I have a doctors appointment in the middle of the day, run to the barn after work to wrap Mikey's hoof again, run back home to change and then go to my parent's house for the first night of Hanukkah.
During all of which I am trying to get my own business started up enough that I can start making a little money. More on that later.
Which brings us to today, Wednesday. I'm going to ride today, but let me catch you up on how everything's been:
Mikey became sound and moving evenly again by Saturday, but for now, we're keeping the hoof wrapped to protect the heel bulb from hard ground outside and to keep it clean when the ground is mud instead. I cancelled my lesson because I wanted to get Mikey working again before seeing my trainer and my trailer brakes weren't talking properly and I wasn't sure we could have them fixed for Sunday.
Over the weekend I wanted to review half pass in canter and make that function again. I spent Saturday and Sunday either gloriously failing, or supremely winning at half pass. Mikey has become very reactive to the half pass and anything else lateral. The half pass in canter has fallen apart because every time we leave the wall in canter Mikey is trying to do a flying change, but I can hold him to his lead, so instead I get hopping, head tossing, and general disconnection. The half pass in canter has fallen apart to the point where I ask for it, he trails his hind end maybe two strides, then either tries to pull through me or simply just won't move sideways anymore, disconnects and attempts a flying change. I've been working on NOT doing them- canter down centerline, half pass from the wall to centerline so I don't have to make a change of direction, anything EXCEPT the flying change. He's getting it slowly.
I got so angry with him Saturday. We started off long and low to make sure he was sound, and he was, and then I went back to working the half passes again like I do in any normal warmup. He was very nice in the long and low, paying attention and relaxed. As soon as I asked for canter half pass, he began spooking at the arena door and being a reactive snotface.
The little snot has had a good bit of "easy" work, long and low and nothing really expected of him for the past week or so. So Saturday he's good and not spooky, and then I ask for more, and he becomes spooky as all hell. I know it's because he's learned he can disconnect and almost get away from me (he flings himself sideways and gawks at the arena door when we track left), and I have a lot of trouble keeping him on task. I spend most of my energy fighting him and trying to get him through again that I completely miss the start of my next movement. I've tried ignoring the behavior and keep on trucking into the next movement, which is then complete crap. I've tried overbending him to the inside so he has trouble staring out the door (he shuts down instead), I've tried circling until he stops reacting (I was still cantering the same circle 6 or 7 15m circles later with almost no change). He's not spooky when the work is easy, and he's spooky when it gets hard, the little snot.
It got so bad that coming out of every corner he'd break to trot from the canter, making it even more impossible to do anything with him. I'm sure by this point I was interfering quite a bit just trying to keep him round, but when I'm driving my seat like I would for extended canter, pony club kicking, and supporting all that with the hand to keep him from motorcycling his turns, I expect a better reaction than breaking to trot.
Usually when things get this bad, I know there's no fixing it today and try to do something else so we can end on a positive note somehow.
I went back to haunches-in in walk and trot on the rail, paying attention to connection and throughness only. Angle and bend, don't care for now. I need my throughness back. He's far enough along that I have to be able to manipulate him and he's not allowed to become a snotface and offended by the extra work. He couldn't quit until he stayed through both directions in trot.
So Sunday rolls around, and I check that he's still sound and then start immediately into the haunches in. Then swapping from haunches in to shoulder in and back again. I keep going with that in trot until he's responsive (not reactive). He's gawking at the arena door to the left still, but in trot, it's not so bad and it's relatively easy to put him on task again with a forward thinking seat and leg, soft hands, and a slightly open left hand to keep him thinking about what's in the arena. I start the half pass, thinking about it more like haunches in on a diagonal (stand at the start of a half pass so you're looking down the diagonal the horse is going across- it's a haunches in!) than a sideways movement. When I think about it like this, I tend to get the haunches leading, but I can keep the throughness. Right now I have a haunches severely trailing problem, I'll take leading for now and then fix it later.
I pick up my canter both ways, and each direction ask for haunches in on the long wall. To the right, he's very willing to give me it (he likes traveling with his haunches right), to the left, we've started WWIII. Either haunches in or throughness, not both, then bam, there's the door and he's sucked back behind my leg and I'm trying to keep him from spinning while still asking for forward. Whip, spurs, doesn't matter. I end up screaming obscenities at him because that helps me relax and deal with him without being mean to him. Yes it's crude. Oh well. Eventually the haunches in left in canter gets a little better. I decide to keep tracking left and tackle that half pass first while he and I both still have energy. The first one we do (thinking about it as haunches in again) is ok, and I go from the wall to centerline in an unspectacular fashion, but it only disconnected a tiny bit. I go back around again to try again and he's evading me at the arena door again. I try the other diagonal and now he sucks back and gawks at arena door the entire time I'm asking for half pass, because now he's straight on to it. I ended up continuing to work on it until I get another semi good one. I had to use the whip to help keep the haunches moving. The right half pass is much much better, it was almost as fluid as the trot half pass right. We did two of those well, he got a good boy and a pat. I only worked for about 25 min or so.
Tonight I aim to repeat Sunday's ride (hopefully without the gawking).
I wrapped Mikey's foot on Sunday and asked husband to do the duct tape because I can't ever get it to stay properly. The sole of the wrap ends up shredding. Well he taped it, and showed me what he did, and when I came back 28 hours later it was still intact, even after being outside in the mud Monday!
|All hail the duct tape skills of my husband.