Thursday, December 8, 2016

State of Affairs

So since my visit to GP Trainer, things have been going relatively well- the trot is really coming along. The canter is having a tougher time, but I'm spending a bit of time in trot and I think he's just tired by the time we canter and he falls apart. He spends quite a bit of time grunting in trot, so I know he's working hard. We're having rough days for sure- recently we've been struggling with all things to the right. He's back to the leg means go, instead of it possibly meaning bend or lateral movements. The shoulder in is essentially broken right now because he's overreacting to my leg (ie running through me and my inside leg is failing) and I run out of long side to mess with it.

The trot itself has really come along, I've been using the spirals to get control of his body and get him straight. It's fairly consistent, and I've started asking for mediums, and he's giving me much bigger and better efforts now that he's up in the whither. He still collapses a bit in the downward transition... but umm, this is only 2-3 weeks in for this new body positioning and well, it's hard. I end up spending a lot of time in trot because it's just a fun trot. He's much more available now. I'm also getting better at sitting the trot, so it's more comfortable now too.

The canter has actually been a bit of a shitshow. I really think it's because he's tired by the time we get to it (ie, I love trotting him through bendy loops and such). He's usually heavy in my hand and has trouble making it through more than one or two 10m circles on the 20m circle exercise. I'm probably making true 10m circles at home, whereas at GP Trainer's I was probably making 12-15m circles because her ring was so much wider than ours at home. He probably feels a bit trapped, and I'm having trouble getting my lower leg up by the girth where it belongs, and I'm collapsing forward whenever he breaks gait instead of continuing to "fell like I'm jumping down the head of the lake"! Basically I'm not helping him and he's already tired.

I was able to have someone video us last weekend, and I chose that day to work the canter first, so I had a much more consistent horse at that point.

This video was 10 min into our ride I think? So the left is better than the right (consistent with the last few weeks). He's bridle lame in the right canter, but he's always had less impulsion that direction, so he needs more leg sending him to the bridle, but I think he might end up on his forehand again right now if I did that. His neck is a bit short (like GP Trainer said it would be), but I'm not holding him up. He was nice and light in my hand for this video. I don't think I can encourage him to have a longer neck at this point, he'd just collapse forward onto his forehand. I like that his balance is more uphill, even if it's just level. It's hard to actually be uphill when his hind end is higher than his front end standing still. I need to get my butt back in the saddle at the canter (made harder in this ride because I was wearing my riding tights, not full seats). You can tell when he loses his balance and gets excessively flexed at the poll as he looks for my hand to hold him up.

Obviously this is just where we're at, not a finished product. We're at a short neck, struggle bus stage. Eventually I'll be able to stretch him again, but right now is not that time. It would undo the work I've been doing to get him more uphill. I'm looking forward to seeing GP Trainer next weekend to see if we're where she wanted us to be (or maybe I'm totally off base here). I wanted to bookend our work in these few weeks with lessons with her before having a lesson with Trainer, who I know would have me stretch him back out.

Hopefully in 2 months time, everything is more smoothed out and consistent!


  1. LOVE how uphill he is working now!

  2. Come make my horse that fancy! You guys look great and I can't wait for you to go back to GP

  3. Cante is just so freakin hard sometimes haha. Penn is so adorable tho and looks like he's trying his little heart out! So cool to see so much progress so quickly!

  4. Sometimes you just gotta truck through the not amazing to get to that lovely point where they are strong and awesome. But it doesn't look bad :) progress is progress