I know, I know, I keep promising other blog posts and then here I am with yet another riding log post. Sorry not sorry. A lot of effort is going into juggling stuff right now. But tonight I stepped out on the front porch to watch sparkling crystal snowflakes idly floating down and hearing nothing but the roar of Prairie Creek. So very nice. The second or third best part of the day, behind what it felt like after spending some time on the acupuncture table and what this blog is about…today’s ride with Mocha (the acupuncture part may switch places…).
Riding log day 13. Snaffle and English saddle.
Mocha was grumpy and I was grumpy. I’m not sure why she was grumpy, except that the yearlings started pressing in before we walked away from the herd, but she was grumpy. Me, I was grumpy because of delivery problems with some books coming in and neck pain that just decided to show up this week. Ugly neck pain. Arrgh.
Anyway. We had some discussions about where I wanted her to stand during grooming and tacking. I noticed she was still kind of stiff along her back after Saturday’s ride. Nonetheless, we headed out. Footing had improved since the temperatures had dropped and we’d gotten more snow. I took her out to the far riding area, and asked her to trot once we passed the arena. Then we dropped down to a walk and did the serpentines at walk and trot, followed by two tracking. And there was a backing figure 8 in there, as well as a couple of bowtie patterns. I’m getting a notion to try turning the bowtie into a star at some point…what a quilter thing to do, because there’s several different possibilities that could end up making some nice patterns in fresh snow…but I digress. Still, the notion of translating some quilting patterns into schooling patterns is…um…interesting to contemplate.
Then we did the zigzag trot and turn exercise. Somewhere in the mix we did a line of canter serpentines. But she was getting rushy heading into deep snow, that same left-to-right lead change that can be difficult. So after that line we dropped back to walk and trot work, saving the canter for the very end where we just did a straight-line stretch and extend on each lead. That rushiness told me that she was struggling a little bit with the snow depth, so why push it?
On the way back we did some spins. She’s wanting to move around too much when spinning right-to-left. But I finally got some correct spins out of her in that direction. But it’s not just spins I have to watch with her. It’s the regular forehand and haunches turns. At some point she gets anticipatory and wants to step out of them. I just have to remember to slow down, take a deep breath, and focus on what she is doing.
After untacking and grooming, we did some showmanship schooling. I’ve been doing this all winter with varying degrees of intensity…mostly alternating rate of walk speed and halting to move into standing square. Lately, I’ve upped the ante a bit, with doing forehand turns, haunches turns, and sidepassing in each direction. Yeah, I get a bit of the horsey equivalent of the eye-rolling teen with this stuff. But I notice that she is paying more attention to me when I’m leading her around. Pairing the ground schooling with schooling under saddle (as opposed to mostly hacking and occasional schooling) helps bring out her old self. And even though she’s giving me the ‘tude about it, I think she actually likes being back in the working structure. She’s a lot more relaxed this days, and I can’t help but think it’s a factor.
Yeah. An old show horse is sometimes still a show horse.