Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Onto Part Two...
Following the clinic, Terrie and I talked and worked out dates for me to return to her farm to keep working with Sassy and chipping away at the lingering negative thoughts the little mare has. I have since been out 4 times to ride Sassy. Each time I have done groundwork and long lined her first. The long lining really helped her loosen up and relax both her back and her mind, which was a good warm up for the ride. My first visit I did all the prep, hopped on, and walked her for the majority of the ride. Toward the end I asked for a small trot, and by ask I mean crowding her walk persistently until SHE offered a trot. I was given a short, choppy-strided trot with her neck tight and ears back. Following Harry's advice, I didn't direct her much, but asked her to keep trotting in the belief that she would work through it. Eventually she was able to even out into a nicer trot and at that time I called it quits. All in all that day I was happy to have gotten her to trot, and she seemed not to resent it and that's all I was concerned with.
The next three times I rode her was all in this past week. I rode her Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and boy did she do GREAT. Monday we warmed up normal, and I hopped on and walked her out. When I crowded her for the trot, she easily fell into it, and for the first time EVER she actually blew out and put her head down as she was trotting. This was huge. She released a great deal while carrying a consistently paced trot. I crowded her a bit more a couple of times and she was able to give me a bigger trot without any ugly attitude. I was SUPER pleased.
Wednesday I returned to the farm to find Sassy happy and eager to go. I had been checking her back before and after each ride and not once could I find any pain. I took her to the arena, warmed her up like normal, and climbed aboard. We went through the things we had been working on such as the nice forward, low-headed walk, and the forward, but calm trot that we had gotten on Monday. She offered both pretty quickly after I asked, and she was just feeling really good. Around one corner I squeezed her up a little bit while she was trotting, and low and behold, she cantered! She cantered a couple strides, then came back down. I took her around at the trot and asked for the hurry again and she picked the canter up beautifully again. She held it down the long stretch for about 10-12 strides, and I asked her back down into a trot (to avoid her tendency to just STOP) and she gave me a lovely transition. Obviously, I was over the moon at this point by the fact that we had just cantered for the first time in four years.
I let her soak on that for a good long while, and then I asked her to move out in the other direction. She went willingly and as soon as her trot evened out and she dropped her head and relaxed, I asked her up into that canter just as easy as can be. We stopped there, rode back up to the barn, and called it a day.
Friday I went out and immediately checked her back. Terrie had told me she'd been sore the day before, but she appeared to be completely sore-free. I proceeded to tack her up, worked her in the round pen at liberty some, long lined her, even over some jumps, and then mounted up. I walked her, trotter her, and got her up to a canter which she carried for an entire circuit around the arena. She amazed me, so I stopped againon that good note and brought her back up to the barn.
Sassy has most certainly amazed me recently, and I am VERY happy about the progress she has made. However, I am fully aware that she is still her unpredictable self, and I know that there are probably some not-so-great rides in our future as well. For the mean time though, I am trying to consistently go out to Terrie's and work with her. I truly believe the consistency of last week helped her immensely, and I hope to continue to grow on the great stuff that was planted last week...
Next time I will fill all of you readers in on the new horse who has entered my life, also about my new job, along with some college updates! Until then!