Riding log in the time of pestilence…day 22

3/12/2020. Western tack, pasture work.

Another bright sunny day, though the wind was sharp, indicating that we’re going to be getting a colder turn of weather this weekend. Mocha’s shedding has slowed down after the first application of the shedding blade. That’s probably a good thing. She’s drowsing nicely at the hitching rail while I groom her, though again, the PIGS did something to set both her and the mare on layup off.

She definitely moves more confidently through the mud with Western tack on. I’m not sure if that’s due to the distribution of weight by that evil, evil Western saddle* or if it’s the back cinch. Either way, it’s a distinct difference that seems to show up in mud.

*I just left a dressage group on Facebook after going through a round of “reining is evil, Western saddles are horrible, and the horse in that video is horribly abused” (based on a liberty video that was clearly a retired older horse that hasn’t been in regular training and has something going on, whether it’s navicular, hocks, or PSSM-2 variant). Of course, I guess that “classical dressage” or at least that brand of “classical dressage” can’t tolerate any variant from a certain type of horse and particular aspect of riding discipline. When the guru of the group chimed in with how evil reining is, welp, that was the handwriting on the wall and I left. Thankfully, I know that these people aren’t the end-all, be-all of the world of dressage, though I’m sorely disappointed because I had a lot of respect for said guru. That’s diminished now thanks to the closed-mindedness demonstrated by said guru who jumped right into the bashing.

So anyway, we did serpentine work in the Evil Western Saddle!!!! and Evil Short-Shanked Curb!!!!!. Mocha was moving a little short in her right shoulder at the jog, but a spell of working serpentines at all three gaits seemed to bring her out of it. She’s still full of beans but is listening and not pulling, which is one of her habits when she starts feeling that spring goodness. Flying changes seemed to be NBD today, even the left to right which can be problematic when she’s stiff. But then, by that point she wasn’t moving short at the jog, either. We also did two-track at walk and trot, backing in a figure 8, and bowties. Then there was a stretch of transition work. She’s getting sharper at transitions again, now that we’ve been schooling them, and she’s moving off the seat and leg better.

At the end I let her gallop because the footing was pretty good. She stretched out more than she has for a long time, still accelerating as we approached the fence. I think she tends to run harder in the Western saddle.

Oh, and I found my lost phone. No idea if it works yet. Unlikely since it’s been buried in a snowbank for a couple of months.

Anyway, at the end we did a few spins. Mocha gets pretty excited about those now that we’re doing them at the end of the ride. Oh wait. I forgot. We did the EVIL SPINS!!!!! (yes, the Guru and the followers were ranting about how ugly spins looked, how awful they were, and of course they are unnatural unlike canter pirouettes) and she was excited about doing them. Yeah, I guess I’ve got her all routinized and brainwashed and programmed. Never mind that this horse is a seeker of patterns (a mindset I think is pretty common amongst any Western pattern horse) and that once we start doing something like serpentines or other pattern work, she starts anticipating the next move. Of course their dressage darlings never ever do anything like that….right? I’ve brainwashed my horse…hah! I still remember several sessions when she decided that she knew better than me what we were supposed to be doing, and blew through leg, seat and hand to go in the opposite direction from what I was cueing her to do…yeah.

And then we did tight serpentines on our way back to the gate because my brainwashed horse was still energetic and raring to go…. yeah, well, I’d been getting diminishing returns from that group anyway.

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