Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Since having Aruba worked over on and everything sorted out for her, lunging her and seeing her use her body differently and actually overreaching at the trot, I was excited to ride her again and get to feel the change in her movement. I also needed to get a final time in for the October Two Point Challenge hosted by L Williams and her blogging friend Hillary. I wasn't sure if I would be getting another ride in before next Monday so I tacked up Aruba and we headed out.

The plan was to walk her around the field and when she relaxed and was ready to work, I would ask for the trot and we would work on that. That was the plan anyways... We all know how that goes. As it was, Aruba would not just settle down and relax. She was looking around, anything but soft, sometimes refusing to bend or give, kept offering to trot on her own and just seemed to be on edge the whole time. At one point she got frustrated and threw in a crowhop to the left. There were a few times it took her several steps to actually stop and even then, she was ready to go again before I would ask. Also when she was walking, she was biting the air in protest of going so slow. Literally biting the air.

She did submit and kept it at a walk for the most part. She did soften here and there, as well as bending and giving me a nice serpentine in between being a Lookie-Lou over there, then over here, back to over there.... But she's fairly green when you think about it so this is all to be expected on some level. We made several stops, backed a few steps sometimes before proceeding on and as always, ended on a good note. At least in the open field.

When we got back to the stalls and into the small arena, I let her trot. As long and as fast as she wanted to as long as she kept it at a trot. What she did was reach out and down, giving me a very forward, soft and giving, ground covering T.R.O.T! I kept my hands low to her neck, not interfering and let her go as long as she wanted to. When a horse is moving properly like this, it is SO MUCH easier to post or even sit the trot. Their body just moves yours without effort. It is such a cool feeling and they feel so powerful under you.

I eventually slowed her to a walk, reversed directions and asked her to trot again. I must've thought she would want to. I thought wrong! Clearly we weren't on the same page with that idea. Going to the left she might as well have flipped me the bird with both front hooves. She made one or two laps and decided it was time to quit. When I pushed her on, she does this thing where she raises her head, turns it to the inside, wrings her tail and grinds her damn teeth. I hate that noise. On the next lap around, as we entered the "Ugly Face" area of the arena, I widened my hands, put my outside leg on her, moved her over a bit and clucked to her to keep her moving. She did, but only after slightly less resistance. Each time around she became a little softer, though she was still grinding her teeth here and there.

This time as she was going around, I was able to work the timer function on my phone and get a reading for the challenge. Two point is a Helluva LOT easier at the faster gaits. We clocked a 2:43 for that. Yay! My legs are still a bit sore, especially on the inside of my thighs, which is strange because I don't remember squeezing that much or that hard with my legs. Apparently I was though, because the muscles don't lie...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Who would've thought?

Last night I gout Aruba out and lunged her. I was hoping to get video of her on the line, in motion, but it didn't happen. The sun was far enough down the lighting sucked and nothing was getting picked up by the lens. Ahhh poop. But true to her nature, she started out at a walk on the line. Since taking notes and tips from Cheryl, this mare has turned some corners and really impressed me. Both by what she can do, but also what I am realizing I already know and can get her to do as well.

Let's start with her walk. Now this mare is Loooong. Not only tall, but long as well. She wears a size 90 sheet which is not easy to find and I have yet to make one for her, so there it is. She's 16.2h and pretty solid put together. Her walk was nothing pretty to begin with, but after Cheryl told me to use my legs and encourage her to step forward under herself more, taa-daa! She was starting to really stride forward and even had some overstep going on there.

I noticed though, that she was a bit more short in her stride on the right. She didn't quite overstep on that side. Her stiffness and tightness was on the left so I figured it was from compensation and let it go at that. But after having Dana work on her the first time, her stride evened out and she was close to a perfect match. The muscles were relaxed and she could move equally well on both sides.

Then came the revelation one night, riding her mostly bareback (saddle pad under the surcingle) to cool her out after some much needed long line work- I was not sitting on her evenly. My left seat bone had more weight on it and contact than the other one. What Dafuq??? So I texted Cheryl on my way home, hoping for some words of advice on how to fix this? She told me to ride bareback and feel with my seat as her back muscles moved beneath me. I shot one back- I was riding bareback and feeling her beneath me. That's how I figured it out! We both had a good laugh over that and agreed I need to do it more often as a reminder...

Working the mare more in the lines and riding her hit and miss, things didn't feel like they were progressing much and Aruba seemed stiff again. So another game of Tag with Dana over text messages and hit or miss on our schedules, yes, no I have the money, I don't have the money, I'm free this day/time, I can't make it... Argh! So I sent her a text on Friday and Saturday morning was on.

Dana worked on Aruba and got her all loosened up and relaxed. At one point Aruba was so relaxed, her eyes were half shut and she seemed to be fading out. Working on a pressure point under her jaw, Dana was able to get a huge release and Aruba stood there yawning and yawning and yawning some more, closing her eyes and trying not to let them roll back in her head. It was funny and awesome all at the same time.

Aruba had the day off on Sunday since the kids go to supervised visitation with their dad. The schedule of getting up at the asscrack of dawn to be there on time after an hour driving one way the opposite direction... does not leave much time for anything horse related on Sundays. Yes supervised visitation, but that's a story for another day.

Now let's talk about Aruba's trot. She has always lifted her neck waaaaay up in the air as if she is a giraffe. Add to that being behind the bit and a few other things in response to everything else and it's just not as pretty a picture as it could be. That's WHY we're working on things. Eventually she does relax and start moving off her back end, but you have to wait for it to happen. Otherwise it just gets ugly and she's not one to easily give in. But we're getting there. Slowly. Some days more so than others... lol

While I was letting Aruba cruise around on the line last night, something happened that has never happened before. She started using her body differently on her own. She was lifting her shoulders and reaching up under herself at the trot. She was striding out in a gorgeous frame and began to actually overreach. Enough so that I could hear it as she moved. Click. Click. Click. Click.... And I thought DAMN! Just don't pull a shoe! The farrier isn't due for another couple weeks and I guess I need to find bell boots now too.