Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prepping for Lesson #2 and Looking Back

A couple things on my mind this morning.

For starters, the weather is BEAUTIFUL. I'm wondering if Coach W has an outdoor ring, as days like today are MEANT to be ridden outdoors. On that same note, I'm desperately wanting to jump, which we're really not ready for. I have to contain my desire to pull out the new jump standards I made and go for a run. TOTALLY not where our current training is at, and while I've done it before and he's capable of it, this is about doing things properly. Patience must be found, even though days like today are MEANT for jumping your way across the ring in the sunshine and breeze.

On a good note, I purchased some black post toppers, to finish off the jump standards. Should look pretty snazzy, if we're ever ready to actually jump.

Moon has been doing well with his bending, though we've a long way to go. I watched the video I took of him yesterday, or more so, I watched the video of me riding him yesterday. Wow.

For starters, I'm gangly. I was CERTAIN that I've finally reached the age where I've filled out a little, but watching the video I felt like I was still looking at that gangly all arms and legs version of my teenage self. An old instructor I had used to yell at me: "Most riders DREAM of having long legs like yours! So start using them!".

It's true. I'm pretty much all leg, standing 5'9". Unfortunately, I'm scrawny. So watching the video, I just felt soooo awkward! Add to that, I think I still have the arm flap that's been haunting me since my first lessons. . I noticed too that my leg muscles are weak, as they move quite a bit as I ride as well. Granted, my sitting trot looked pretty darn good, and my inside arm looks strange because of my open rein.

Really, it wasn't so bad. You could see when and where Moon was getting his head down, and I'm really glad that it's visible on the video as well. I'm not sure I'll be able to get out between today and next Monday to practice with him again, but I'm sure with enough practice he'll be working there all the time.

I wonder what tonight's lesson will be like? And if T will be joining me again?

...hmmm....I should see if we can start putting Moon'ers KoolCoat on him during the day now...since I need to be back to drop off the vaccines for T tomorrow anyway...

Okay, other thoughts.

An acquaintance of mine sold her horse a little while ago, and I recently had the opportunity to see him with his new owner, whom I'm friends with. She'd always been a nice horse, cute and with good potential to go into an english discipline. The last time I saw the horse, it was the dead of winter, everyone was wearing their thick fur, and it was hard to really make any judgements. When asked what I thought of her, I noticed two things. One was that she had deep back (almost sway), which I'm sure was due to lack of use (unfortunately, the girl had suffered an injury last spring, and while she hoped it would resolve, it hadn't. Thus, her horse was for sale and she'd never had the chance to break her. She was bought to be a brood mare, never worked and in the end, never bred). The other thing I noticed, was that she seemed disproportionate. Not really sure how else to describe it, but I was still "new" to judging horse body condition and the like.

So she sold, and as spring rolled around, the fur came off and we could really see how she looked. And I have to say, I was taken a bit aback. I knew that the horse had been well fed through the winter, with grain and hay. Granted she's an arab, which are typically a bit more wimpy and harder to put weight on, but she never seemed skinny. Now however, she seemed...even more disproportionate.

Her neck seemed to be set too low on her shoulders, making her wither extreme, and her back appear very hollow. She seems built well downhill, her back legs almost looking too long for her body. Her wither actually seems to be 12 or 16" LONG, which seems crazy, since it should visually run into the neck and disappear. Her loin seems thin, her hip severely angled and quite pointed.

Add to that, her pasterns seem too far ahead of her cannon bones, and her coat, even now, seems patchy and thick.

At first, my friend thought the horse was malnourished, and started her on an extensive feeding program, with supplements galore. After a couple of weeks, she seemed fuller, but the odd body shape remained.

Some research today, makes me believe that it's not a low body condition score or lack of fat that's the issue here. Instead, I think that this little arab, for not ever been in training, actually lacks MUSCLE development. An overall lack of topline gives the appearance of the long wither, narrow neck, sway back and sharp hip angle.

What does that mean? My friend is in for a LOT of riding, conditioning, lunging and hills with this pony! Makes me feel like Moon and I are already a step ahead, since he's at least got SOME muscle on his tubby little body.

Here's a pic similar to my friend's horse's body condition...

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