I need to start taking and downloading my pics... : P
Regardless, I should say that we're on a good riding streak...since last Wednesday's lesson, I managed to get in an hour ride on Friday, a 1/2 hour in on Sunday, and another hour in yesterday. Granted, I'm not sure Moon is too keen on it, but based on the two more holes I got to tighten his girth, I think it's certainly helping his manly figure. I hope like crazy that by the end of summer I see a horse with a good muscling, less of a hay belly, more topline, less swayback and improved neck muscling. I do have a 48" girth at home, and the thought of him fitting into it... : O
Based on all of that, I *think* he'll get today off, as I think he needs a bit of a break.
Yesterday he was well behaved when I showed up, even standing reasonably well while I mounted. We worked on our circles, and while I really felt like our counter-clockwise circles were much improved, he was obstinate, mouth and bracing on the clockwise. Oh, and rushing and popping. And stopping in the same spot whenever we went in that direction, and since I was cropless and my legs were starting to ache from trying to push him through it, I finally popped him one right back with the reins. Let's just say that made a nice difference, as though he continued to be a brat while moving in that direction, he didn't stop!
It really was odd how improved he was in one direction and awful in the other...Horses.
I rearranged the jumps in the arena, and we did a line of trot/walk poles, followed by a cross rail with two strides to a low vertical which proved to me that I really need to make sure we're coming off our jumps straight and headed to the next one. A couple times we nearly smoked the upright as he drifted to the left. On the other hand, we did manage to ride fairly deep to the corner, and came off the vertical and maintained our forward momentum into the next corner.
I took him over the 1'9" jump, which he surprised me and when we turned the corner to approach it, moved automatically into a canter and flew over it lovely. Even kept a trot right into the corner, where me so excited from our jump, forgot to steer and we nearly crashed into the entry gate...Yeah, I'm silly that way.
He was harder to get long and low after our jumping, but settled nicely going in his good direction. Too bad we couldn't just ride one way all the time!
The last thing I did, wanting a nice calm easy exercise, was try to leg yield at a walk. It certainly wasn't olympic caliber, but considering a couple weeks ago I didn't think we had any lateral movement, I was pleased to see that we could maintain a slight bend to the left, and I could push him over to the right as he moved forward. I can't make comments about whether his legs were crossing or not, but we moved a couple feet over across the length of the arena, an improvement for us for sure.
Finally understanding to stop when I'm ahead, I called it quits after his last reasonably good leg yield attempt. Lots of pats and loving, and I even remembered to do his leg stretches. While I was at it, I felt each leg for heat or swelling, since so many of my blogger counterparts are suffering through various types of lameness or chronic legs issues. It saddens me and reminds me how vital the leg is to the horse. I know I've been beyond fortunate thus far to have a sound pony, but I know that as we continue to ride more frequently and up the ante on what we're doing (such as next week when hopefully we start over some 2' jumps), the likelihood of something happens only increases. I feel for all those in that position right now : (
Oh, and I noticed that there's a lot of space between his back and the top of the saddle, and am considering changing him to a wide gullet plate to see if that makes any difference. Figure since it's a changeable one anyway, it'll be easy enough to go back if I don't like the way it sits. If anyone's selling a cheap dressage saddle, lemme know! : )
Stay sound my friends! My farrier is out on Thursday, and man does Moon need a trim after only 6 weeks. Now if I could just find a dentist...