I’m thinking that I’m getting my old horse back. While I still feel tightness in Mocha’s right shoulder, and her hips lock up a little bit, she’s also getting to be fifteen this year. Not going to get the strong young mare she was a few years ago as she finally seems to be getting over the white line, the muscle soreness, the…whatever.
But as far as she’s concerned, it’s time to get back to some real work–real in Mocha definition meaning something other than working on the rail. Even when doing all three gaits on the rail, she’s looking to start doing patterns. Problem is, between the resection over her toe (while less extreme than her original resection, still needs to avoid too much pressure and torquing from sharp turns and such) and rehabbing whatever it was she initially did to her shoulder and chest, rail work is still the best. However, girl gets grumpy if all she does is rail work, even if it’s at all three gaits. So…figuring out a balance requires thought. Especially on a day like today where she started out tense and tight to the right, but started getting fretty and fussing about extra laps at the jog. Girl was on the muscle and wanted to go. I wanted her to be a little more warmed up with that tightness I felt. We finally came to an agreement, but I knew she needed a bit more intense of a workout.
Fortunately, there’s some options. I tested her on rollbacks a few days ago, especially trotting into them and loping out. That was popular. Now I’m careful to do them in the deeper end of the arena, and today she started jumping around in anticipation on her first right to left rollback. One of her bad habits, fueled in part by eagerness and in part by too much pressure on that right shoulder/fore so that she doesn’t get set up right to push off with her right fore. So we continued on around the arena, and trotted into the rollback, me being firm about whoa, dwell, kiss, turn.
Loping three quarters of the arena, slowing down to a trot, then whoa, pause, kiss, turn, worked. It’s a slow rollback without the push of loping into the rollback, and it made her happy. We did about four of those, then moved on to other work. Small walk circles. Trotting diagonal lines across the arena, then either doing haunches or forehand turns to face another direction and diagonal. Then loping the same type of diagonal pattern, wrapping up with a big three loop serpentine at jog and then lope, two in each direction.
By this time she was well warmed up, keyed up, and ready to go when I gave her free rein for her closing hand gallop. For the first time in ages, it really was a solid hand gallop, what we call a Mocha thunder, in both directions (we do this to shake out the tension from more collected work at the end of the ride). Then we were set up so that I asked her to roar down the diagonal after we made the far turn of the arena. It’s her favorite hard run and stop line–and she eagerly went for it. She’s not done that for over a year.
Let’s just say she was a happy horse at the end of this ride. She lined out nicely on our cool out hack along the road, swinging big through her back with an even reach through her shoulders.
My horsey girl thunders again. Yay!