So it was about 28-30 degrees today and WINDY! Since I dont have a barn winter coat I had on 2 t-shirts and 3 hoodies. I was still cold. Goodness.
Today started off well, I got great sleep and felt fabulous! I got ready and Zoey and I hopped in the car for out 45 min drive to Diane’s barn. Christmas music
I was going to start China and Tempting in English tack today, but my girth was too small! And its a 42! Fatties. Diane didn’t have any girth extenders so sans English saddle for China…she did go in a D-ring french link snaffle though…
As usual, I started out by lunging to warm her up. I’m a big fan of lunging for 5-10 min just to get a horse loose. A lot of trainers think too much lunging is bad for a horse, which it can be, but 5-10 min before every ride is not going to do any damage.
SIDENOTE- the reason many trainers dislike lunging or lunging with sidereins is because they think prolonged periods going round and round and round is degenerative to a young horses’ (or older) joints. Granted yes if one lunged a horse for 45 min everyday, that would do great damage, but just 10 min before every ride at walk, trot and canter can really loosen a stiff horse up, especially in the winter! The key is to lunge on a larger circle and start off at the walk and trot and only let them canter after about 7 min of walking in trotting. I sometimes like to add sidereins for 5 min of the warmup, but only if the horse understands what they are for-stretching and loosening of the back and neck. I think it is vital to let a horse warm up before the rider ads his/her weight.
But anyways, I started off lunging her, and she seemed to enjoy the lighter English bridle and bit in her mouth. But God was it cold! Anyways after doing our neck stretches I mounted up and let her walk about for a few min. Then I started right back where I left off tues with leg yielding at the halt. Unlike tues, China was not very compliant. She kicked at the girth today when I cinched her up so I deduced that her sides were sore. Sure enough, after experimenting with leg pressure I learned that she would only tolerate light light light pressure today. That was a challenge, esp when practicing leg yields! However she soon settled and after some fussing with the bit like usual, into a workmanlike trot. I intermittently would stop and ask for yieldsand back-ups in which she complied!
After her I worked Freddy; I wish I could change him to English tack as well, but he is simple to wide for my saddle. I did though switch his bit to a happy-mouth, french link, 2 ring elevator bit
This is the exact bit I used today on him. I LOVE elevators and use a 3 ring on Yankee whenever we jump. However, it is only for experienced hands! When used wrongly this bit can be quite severe. Anyways, I started him off the same way I start China. He was one step behind her though as he didnt know leg yielding well. I put on baby spurs today and really took my time with him. He finally got it!!! I was so happy. He really is one of the smartest I have ever dealt with before. After that, we worked on cantering right when I ask. Seems the baby spurs really helped today as he FINALLY picked up the correct leads. He seems to really be coming into better balance with himself. I was very happy with him today as well!
After him I worked Tempting. I’m pretty sure she was possessed by the devil today, because she was an absolute hellion. She started off in the barn terribly (I was able to jerry-rig the saddle in place….not sure how to explain how, but it was very secure-enough for lunging, no rider could have sat in it), spooky and nervous the whole time I was grooming. Diane thought it was because she’s only worn the saddle 5 times now, and hardly was ever groomed before I started orking with her. I blame it on the wind. Pleh. I don’t know why I thought she would improve…
Well she didn’t. Tempting normally is very mindful and well behaved, taking voice cues well and all that jazz. But she was turning a deaf ear today, along with flipping of the tail and running madly around like a hooligan. I couldnt help but get frustrated…and I started to doubt myself for not being able to get ehr attention… I really didnt know what to do! I asked her to HALT adn I stood there a bit and regained my composure. Giving up on working her in the icy wind, I resulted to working with her on giving to the bit on the ground. Epic Fail. I just coudldnt work with her today. Back to the barn.
After lunch, I got on Curly. We went for a lovely trail ride, and I’m very glad I left him for last. He was an ANGEL! I used the same bit on him as freddy and he really responded well to it. I trotted and cantered a bunch on him today and really worked he hills. Maybe he’ll lose some chuz
I was pooped after that but I still had another 45 min drive to go work with Jasmine, the mustang. As usual she didnt want to come down out of the pasture ( I bribed her with oats!), but once she did, all was well. I first practiced picking up her feet and brushing her. She is really learning fast! I tacked her up and sent her out on the line-which she is unafraid now! Also practice halting and turning with hand signals. Later, about 20 min, I put my feet in the stirrup and hopped up and down. She was un-fazed by the whole deal. I hope I’m not too heavy to ride her when the time comes!
But I have been working out