Riding log day 16. Snaffle, English saddle. Slight and occasional gimp on right fore, but not consistent, occasional step at the trot and seemed to work out of it though she trotted off with a mild bob when turned loose that didn’t stop her from cantering on her right lead when she figured out where her buddy was. It may just testify to the need for the latest Adequan shot, which she got today. Last I saw she was assembling her Windbreak of Friends.
Fresh snow last night that thankfully waited to fall until after we got back from RadCon. New horses in the field, one of whom appears to want to pester Mocha. Well, that one learned later that pestering Mocha with a rider on her is Not A Good Idea. Mocha gets pretty enthusiastic about herding other horses if they want to chase her when I’m up. Luckily, said horse also took a clue pretty easily.
She’s not in full shedding mode yet. I managed to loosen a few hairs but no, no sign of shedding. Probably a good thing if the current long range forecast holds, especially in light of tonight’s temps that are supposed to be in the low teens.
In spite of the gimp she moved out pretty enthusiastically. We are getting better at consistent serpentines at both walk and trot, including serpentines with counterbend. Oh, there’s still a few wobbles, but judging by the evidence in the snow, we’re improving. She’s becoming straighter at the two track in walk, with less of that issue of leading shoulder than it’s been. Backing in a figure 8–well, the circle to the right is still smaller and funky, but not as bad as the last time. And the spiral in and out at the walk was a bit closer in size than it was last time. Our bowties are consistent in trot for the most part (just one stretch of one of them was a little rushy, but improved).
She was really thinking about using herself during the spirals, with the low head, focus, and light contact on the rein with a little bit of stretching that goes along with it. I was having to make some minor corrections, but a lot of that felt more like she needed the support of rein or leg rather than any actual resistance, which is good. After a week off due to convention and other stuff, I suppose it’s to be expected. But it felt good and it felt to me like she was using the exercise for what it is supposed to be. Yay.
And I am really, really liking the snow this year for how our riding patterns are coming up. I guess it speaks to the lack of actual schooling that I was doing before that I only noticed how well snow holds working patterns. Either that or I wasn’t really focusing/paying attention to the patterns in previous years, which is also possible since I was focusing on straight line conditioning then. The serpentines looked a little bit like a DNA helix when we were done with them (well, except for the later trot and canter across them), and the spirals looked pretty good. It is a lot easier to track patterns in snow than in dirt, even freshly tilled dirt. There’s a lot more contrast in snow.
Mocha felt comfortable enough with the footing to stretch out in our finishing canter. Right now I am reluctant to do schooling work in canter…but a nice rousing canter that might edge into a gallop…well, the old gal still likes that. And today’s spins to the left were much better, once I waved the right rein a little bit.
We finished off with ground schooling. She’s starting to get back to the pattern of stopping square or close to square again. Consistent work, that’s what it takes.