One of the unmounted sessions included practicing for our Christmas card picture, which was super fun, as well as a very thorough massage and an intermediate trim session where I practiced my hoof knife skills getting after Val's bars.
|My horse is a hoot... seriously.|
Another day I intended to ride (dragged ring and dressed) but just as I began to groom, there was crackling from a midday, midweek brush fire next door. (why p-i-t-a neighbor, WHY?) With not a hint of wind, the sound of the fire was extremely loud and incredibly close. This sent Val into the stratosphere. Instead of schooling, we spent several hours on leading work, longeing, finishing up our interrupted grooming, and then a spin around the arena bareback with the halter. Fear banished. It wasn't in the plans, but very productive nonetheless.
After two pleasant bareback rides, I bit the bullet and pulled out the saddle again. I had developed a
Some high points of our best ride - we had the loveliest warmup on the buckle, with a smooth transition into contact. Our work on school figures - accurate - check. I focused on feeling Val's mouth through my elbows and contact - check. Next I asked Val for a bigger walk. What I got was happy, swinging trot from a minimal aid. Forward - check! Full school, figure eights, working over the back - check! Best of all, I even knew when to stop.
To say I was elated after this ride would be an understatement. Never fear, today's ride brought us right back down to earth. Very good, but I wasn't as even in my seat, and Val reflected my crookedness back to me. The takeaway - nothing new. If I sit in the middle of my horse, am clear in my aids and offer him smooth, elastic, consistent, following contact, the sky's the limit.
This spring we had begun to school the canter depart and did some sitting trot work. A bad fall led to a series of nervous rides with a distinct lack of brakes and security. Summer made the arena almost useless. I decided to work on my balance riding bareback, and rode out in the open to address the steering and brake issues. Basically - we've recovered the ground we lost over the summer - my seat and my confidence are stronger. I am over my period of discouragement. Learning dressage on your own is not for the fainthearted.
Part of our progress is due to Val is feeling better. I suspected that Adequan wasn't doing the trick for him. He spent a lot of time cocking his hips this summer, noticeably increased, seemed uncomfortable during trims when we worked on his back feet and was reluctant to move out sometimes. After considerable research, I switched him to a new medicine - Pentosan Polysulfate - which I will share more about in another post. If the one tempis he did down the fence line yesterday, and his repeated offering of the trot unasked are any indication, it's working. :D
After our ride today, I spent the afternoon on a free two hour teleseminar with Jane Savoie. It was simply packed with useful information. I took extensive notes which will also appear in an upcoming post. Now I just need a few more hours to devote to blogging. At least I'm spending as much time as I can with my horse because horse time = happy time.