Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Don't Know Why My Horse Was Good Today

Taking a little break from the 30 day challenge because I actually rode my horse today.  Not only was my horse good, she was freaking awesome and I have no idea why.  The last time I saw my horse thanks to the plague I've had all week was last Sunday.  Six days ago kids.  On that day I threw her on the lunge line and she putzed around, then I put her away.  The last time I rode her before that was December effing 30th.  My horse literally had every right to be bad today.  I got to the barn expecting a stiff, pissy, tude and she proved me wrong in typical mare fashion.  (Obviously if I had a show/clinic/lesson today and had spent the whole week getting her ready she would have been every bit of the stiff pissed off monster I expected).

I began the morning teaching a few lessons at a barn not farm from Mollie's.  I teach there on the weekends and it's a very laid back barn where the majority of my lessons are "up-down lessons".  I am in no way a trainer but up/down lunge lessons I can handle.  After finishing up those I went to Mollie's barn and it down poured the entire 5 minutes.  Naturally when I got there Mollie was ready to come in.

Wet pony is wet.

I helped turn in all the horses and then got my tack out, groomed Molls, and tacked her up.  It was so warm here today (53 degrees... what?) and humid that my leather was all swollen/damp/disgusting to the point that I couldn't even get my bridle over her wet/winter coat ears.  My bridle is a total shit show anyways because Mollie is a pain to fit.  She has a classic QH head which means width-wise she's a horse and length-wise she's a cob.  This is further complicated when outfitting her with a double bridle.  The only thing I have that works is her regular snaffle bridle with an extra headstall/cheekpieces running through it that hold on our curb bit.  Totally ghetto but that's all we have for now.  I took off the portion that makes it a double and figured she could probably use a light hack in just a snaffle anyways.

Got her into the ring and started warming up at the walk doing our favorite long and low exercise, turning down the quarter line, leg yielding to the wall, changing the bend through her ribcage, leg yielding back to the quarter line, etc.  We squeeze in as many as we can down each long side and then continue straight through the short sides.  After a good 10 minutes of that and a little shoulder in I asked her to trot and she immediately yanked her head between her knees.  

Code for, I'm super stiff and need to trot like this till I'm better.  Please don't touch my face.

We cruised around at the trot and canter like that on a long rein until I could actually take contact with her and collect her a bit.  I put her on a small circle (about 10m) and worked on another exercise that really helps her when she's stiff.  I slowed down the walk to half steps, bend her slightly to the outside, and continue around the volte with her haunches out.  When she actually does it correctly it does wonders for her alignment and gets her really light.  After doing that I was able to trot her around the ring super collected with a literal gap in my reins.  In a snaffle.  

Who are you and what happened to my horse??

I seriously could not believe how quickly and agreeably she came together but obviously loved it.  I did lots of shoulder in, making sure to really ride off my core and not touch her face.  When she gets nice and soft I usually love to ruin it by bracing in my arm FOR NO REASON.  I was super conscious of it today however and she definitely appreciated it.  After one half pass left (her hard direction) from centerline to quarter line with a dead square halt at the end of it I decided not to push my luck and called it a day.  Huge pats for Mollie-Wogs.

God bless any of you who made it to the end of this novel ;)

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