|Partners in crime...|
While doing some last minute grooming; blanketing; and apple feeding, my phone rang. I had interviewed that morning, and was being offered a full-time job! Success!!
A friend and I went for a medium length trot/canter conditioning ride through the surrounding hills and fields. We were gone for approximately an hour and spent 1/3 of the time at the walk, 1/2 of the time at the trot, and 1/6 of the time at the canter.
We practiced cantering very, very collected -- trying to match our warmblood friend's big canter. And we practiced trotting extended and connected for a long time. Pig really got into the extended trot. It was hard to hold him together. He would get a little disengaged and his tempo would break down. It almost felt like he was pacing. A solid half halt put him back into a good tempo, and we would try again. I think it helped him figure out his extensions and half halts a bit better.
Afterwards, both horses were drenched in sweat. We used our fancy new barn to the fullest. Pig received a warm water bath and enjoyed hanging out under the heat lamps for a bit. However, it was 60 degrees, so he ended up getting turned out while still fairly wet.
|Don't lie. You're jealous of our warm water and lamps... I also won't lie. I had forgotten this was an option and considered just giving Pig a cold bath with the regular hose, like we would have at our old barn!|
|So much fun...|
When we were seamlessly changing direction, I moved on to 20 m circles at the canter. I wanted him to sit and engage more, while keeping bend. Once we were dancing the line between loose engagement and tense trying, I took him off the circle to do half pass and a single flying change. I repeated the exercise in the other direction. This was a hugely successful exercise. I started on Pig's difficult direction, and it was nice to end on the good direction and with clean and prompt changes.
|It was nice to have a photographer/videographer for the day, too!|
This ride is when Pig was starting to feel the week's exertions, I think. He felt a little stiff and a little reluctant in the contact. I was stiff in the hips, too. That didn't help. I kept things light and easy, trying to remember to stay dispassionate in my training.
We did a lot of stretches, shoulder-in to the tough direction, and changes of direction. I asked for simple change canter figure eights, which may have been too much. I tried not to nitpick them too much, and quit when we had a decent one.
Another iffy ride. Pig was again very stiff, only this time I could not establish a consistent half halt. He felt very tight behind, and kept leaving a hind leg in the trot and canter. I had to nag his arthritic back right a lot to get it to keep up.
All was not lost, however. I did a lot of experimenting in this ride. I tried to really notice where Pig was putting his haunches in each direction. In the walk and trot to the right, he wanted to push his haunches in. When I would then ask him to bend that direction, he would throw a fit. He was blocking himself with his own shape. When I pushed his haunches out, he was freed up to be able to step forward and bend. His frustration would vanish, though he did not want to push his haunches out.
Cantering to the left, I had to take care that his haunches did not curl in. That would cause him to lean and destroyed our ability to half halt. My right leg was too strong in the left lead canter, and I needed more left leg to keep the bend appropriately.
|I give you: The View from the Back of the Red Dragon|