Wednesday, March 29, 2023

What's Up Wednesday


I kind of feel like What's Up Wednesday has gotten kind of redundant. I think it's just the time of year, and it should get more interesting again soon. Hopefully at least! Once the horses are home for the summer, at the very least I'll have more media to share. But in the meantime, we can still chat about the same old, same old. 

We'll start with Shiny since she's such a lil nugget. Things are going well with her for the most part. She was great in last week's lesson, though she does continue to kick out when she doesn't feel like cantering. I'm thinking I may have her saddle fitter out once we're back home to see if she needs it reflocked anywhere. She seemed less irritated about picking up canter in the bareback pad this week, but with her you just never know. She may have just not been so moody that day. Mares... Ha! Anyway, she's feeling pretty good. I think she's ready for a visit from her body worker though, so hopefully said body worker will be coming back up north soon. We lesson tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. 

Eros is perfect as always. Or at least, mostly perfect. When he got shod recently, we pulled his winter pads since hopefully snow season is over. But ever since he's been a little braced on the left side and acting kind of spooky. Even after his free lunge. He was definitely torpedo light for his lesson last week too. So I reached out to my farrier to see what his thoughts were about trying some pads again. I just think he's feeling a little uncomfortable without them and that's leading to his silliness and bracing. It may be totally unrelated, but he did feel considerably better with the pads on. Our farrier said it's worth trying, so I just need to wait for him to get back from Florida. (End of circuit problems... all the caretakers are still south!)

And then there's Al. Al has been a bit of a roller coaster lately. Our Friday lesson was meh. We only were able to use half the ring again because he just wanted to spin anytime I headed toward the other end. He was fine for what we did do, but I was feeling frustrated with myself for not riding through the naughty stuff better. 

2' King of the World!

Generally for me, the best way to work through my riding problems is to just keep trying. So I signed up for a Saturday lesson too. We're only jumping 2' so it's not like two days in a row would be strenuous for him. Unfortunately, Saturday proved to be a miserable rainy day with wind. Of course there was wind. Not the ideal conditions for a horse that is angsty in the indoor. But I'm not (usually) a quitter so I proceeded with the lesson. It was going okay. After some flat work, we moved on to warming up over a small vertical. One of the same ones we'd jumped the day before. The jump itself was just fine every time. But each time we came to it, he was getting more and more spooky about the approach. (We were turning through the center of the ring between some other jumps to get to our fence. There was plenty of space, he was just being a child.) I finally just got very frustrated, because I wasn't doing a great job of handling the spook. Like I could get to the jump, and jump it fine, but he was so backwards on the way there, and nothing I was doing was getting him to give up the ghost. So finally I asked our instructor to hop on. And it was so good for me to see someone handle the problem really effectively, but without upsetting Al. She was tough with him, but not in a way that suggested he was in trouble. And he was very receptive of that. She pointed out that just before he props to spin, he tries to come up above the vertical. So the best thing for me to do, is make sure I keep him in the contact, and use all the inside leg I can muster to keep pushing him toward where he'd rather not go, along with a little bend away from whatever he is trying to avoid. It's not as simple as it sounds because you know, the angst! But I've been trying hard to really ride him this way, and rewarding him when he's a good boy. Yesterday it took a lot of everything for me to get it done, but I did it without ever letting him know I was worried. And today was a little easier than yesterday. Which is probably mostly due to it being warmer, but regardless, I'm taking it as a step forward. He will lesson again this Friday, and then I'll see about a weekend lesson. Probably Saturday again. I like my easy-ish Sundays. 

And that's it from here! How are things going for all of you? Have you had to work through the Silly Sevens with your horses? I always remember that I hate four year olds because that's when they like to test boundaries. But I had forgotten that there's also this time in the sevens that's equally challenging. I really look forward to Al being a solid adult horse... But until then, we'll just keep swimming...


  1. i'm another one who needs to kinda just keep hammering away at the thing to make the thing.... not such a big deal. sounds like it's working with Al! that's really interesting insight about how he kinda forecasts his spooks... good luck riding thru it!

    1. Yes! It was so helpful. Like I could kind of feel that happening, but instead of reacting I just waited for the problem to happen. It was so helpful to watch someone just do what I needed to do. I'd really like a trainer to just jump him around once for me so I can see it go well, and then I can do it too. In my old age I need a little hand holding I guess.