Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Awesome times THREE!

I had a busy busy day today, and of the three real sessions I had (I played with a 4th, but only to keep him occupied while the others ate their grain) were absolutely FANTASTIC. I haven't felt that productive with my herd in a VERY long time. I played with Crest, Cricket, and Prin, and I think the easiest way to summarize will be to just go down the list.


I've been trying really hard to get into a consistent schedule with Crest, since he thrives best when he's played with often. So, since the last time I blogged, we've actually played twice, not including today. Anyway, we've been playing with really progressing in the patterns. The ground was too hard by the time I got them last fall, so I only got to introduce them to him.

All I can really say is HOLY CRAP, this horse is a speed-demon learner. I knew that about him from the start, but he's now blowing my mind more and more. I started playing with these patterns at L2 two days ago, and today, he was consistently offering me L4 with everything. He kept pulling flying changes out of NOWHERE, he was cantering like I've never seen before, and his circles were GORGEOUS, and amazingly rhythmic!

After being thoroughly mind-boggled by Crest's ground play, I decided to hop on and do some stuff. We started out just walking around and playing with walk-halt transitions, which he did flawlessly. We toddled around the playground a bit, w/t/c and playing with obstacles, and then I somehow got the idea that we should play with turns on the haunches. It started out a little bit rocky, being that it's physically challenging for him, but we played through it slowly and persistently, and by the end, I was getting some LOVELY pivots, and twice got what I think were pretty high-quality spins. He's truly a very athletic horse, he just needs proper guidance, etc.

Poor Cricket is going through some difficult things right now. I'm just starting to get her back into riding, something that hasn't been kind on her in the past. She's basically been taught nothing but to resist, and unfortunately, has been punished for a lack of understanding. The result is a very skeptical, very unsure, very unconfident horse in all aspects of riding. I've spent the past couple weeks getting her friendly to the concept of being saddled. I pulled out Prin's original saddle for the job. It's a cute little general purpose Trainer's brand saddle, pretty narrow, but has decent weight distribution throughout the panels, which is why I chose it. Coupled with the Theraflex, it does fairly well.

Anyway, today, for the 3rd day in a row, we've played with bridling. Cricket must have evaded bridling really well in her days prior to my riding, because she knows practically every trick in the book to get away from it now. Today went fairly well though, we only had to "discuss" yielding to poll pressure for about 3 minutes, as opposed to the 15 and 5 we spent the past two days.

Once we got bridled, I hopped on, and proceeded to play with fluid rein. I've got her in the confidence snaffle because of the rough handling she's had in her mouth previously. Three days ago, When I'd get on, she'd turn her neck inside-out to get away from any sort of pressure on her mouth. Today, we made HUGE strides with fluid rein. Though a bit skeptical (and astounded!) that I really wanted her to stretch into the bit, Cricket finally got the idea, and we spend a half an hour walking and trotting around with Cricket's nose barely above the grass, exhaling and blowing almost every stride. Talk about a pressure release! It's going to be a long road, but she's going to make a LOVELY riding horse. I'll be continuing this journey, so keep checking back :)


Today's session with Prin will be dubbed successful simply because it was short, sweet, and I totally blew my horse's mind. I had originally planned to tack up and take her out for a long trot up the road, but after I heard gunshots coming from Dusek's, our neighbors up the road (the 3 brothers shooting pigeons, no doubt), I decided that we'd better not. So, I hopped on bareback, and took her for literally a 5 minute ride. We cantered up the driveway, to the top of the hill, stopped, backed up, did a roll back, and cantered home. Once I got back, I took her to the tackroom and I groomed her from head to tail, gave her a cookie, and put her back. The look of astonishment on my horse's face was fantastic, and I know I left her wanting more because she followed me along the fence line as I walked out.

So. All in all, a VERY productive day. I love spring, I love my horses, and my life is going very well. I'll hopefully get the camera out this week sometime if it's not too nasty (they're predicting freezing rain/snow on Tuesday), and will keep progressing along.

Keep it natural, and I'll post again soon :)

No comments: