Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rained In

Our weather has taken a not-so-great turn. It's raining, it's blowing, it's no good for riding outside, the horses are standing in their stalls as I type this. It's not snowing, which is good, and I hate to be one of those idiots who whines about the rain (rain is good, after all, we need it and all that), but still...waaaaaaaaa.

On Friday the weather was still cooperating. It was overcast for most of the day, but by the time I got out to the barn, the sun had come out and I wound up riding in a T-shirt. Hell yeah. I had another great ride outside, starting with a warm-up trail ride that was very relaxing apart from when Sofie flew sideways at a bird taking off (you know how they make that BOOM-flappy-flappy-flappy noise?). I wasn't unseated, though, and we continued on. She thought about spooking at the geldings in the corner of their field on the way back, but ultimately she decided that was a dumb idea.

In the yard she was very good. She felt a little bit off at times, but she only had one balky moment (it's funny, but upon reviewing the video, she actually did a fairly gorgeous trot right after she balked and I smacked her with the whip. Maybe I should whack her more often?). She was primed to canter in her favorite spot, but I also got her to canter away from the barn to the right, though she wound up counter-cantering. Her left hind is still giving her trouble, as evidenced by her reluctance to hold her oppostite hind foot up for cleaning. Regardless, she went forward and listened to me, although her ears were back some of the time. Our last canter was to the right, heading back to the barn. She put her ears back when I asked her and wasn't into it, but I trotted her forward a few more strides and asked again, and she went into the canter. It was really nice and forward, and it may have been on the right lead (although I didn't feel her lead properly the other times, so I'm not really sure). After that I quit with the canter work, and did a lot of walk since she had done a lot. It took a bit of time to convince her to just walk, since she was in go mode and was starting to get a little strong. After a nice long cooldown, I stopped her and she nickered at me as I swung off her back. So cute.

I have video of that ride that I'm hoping to post, but I have to get it onto my computer somehow.

Then on Sunday, my weather luck ran out. It was pouring rain, so we were stuck in the indoor. I hadn't ridden in there all month. I was anticipating a not-great ride, since wet weather tends to exacerbate Sofie's hock issues, and the indoor is just not as fun as the yard. She free schooled fairly well, but was crabby about the girth (she might've been a little tender from her recent sternum adjustment. Or she might've just been crabby in general). We were sharing the arena with the alpha mare from Sofie's little herd, which always makes her a bit defensive. So she had her ears back a lot of the time, which may very well have been a defense mechanism on her part. I was a little out of sorts that day and was kind of nit-picky, which is easier to do in the indoor, since there are no distractions. So I noticed every drift, I noticed how we weren't straight, I noticed when she was inverted, and all that good stuff. She felt a little off at the trot some of the time, and I didn't have anyone watching on the ground, so I got paranoid that I was screwing her up (yeah...she has arthritis, genius, not a suspensory injury. She needs work). But nothing seriously bad happened, and we did do better at staying on the rail than we have in the past, and we trotted all the way around the arena both ways. We managed to not get kicked by Diabolical Mare (although at one point her butt was like two inches away from us...yeah, I gave her rider a bit of an earful. She needs to learn not to trust her mare around other horses.), and we thought about cantering...well, Sofie thought about it at one point, so I asked her once in each direction. Tracking left, she lifted a bit in front like she was attempting to do a canter depart, but she didn't make it any further. I still praised her for trying, though. Then, like an idiot, I asked her while she was tracking right, and of course she wasn't willing to do it and she pinned her ears and trotted on. She didn't kick out or balk, though, so it wasn't the end of the world.

I just wasn't ready to give up cantering, since we had been doing so well. It's easy for me to get sucked into the whole peer-pressure, "Why shouldn't we canter in the indoor?" thing, but common sense tells me that unless my horse is doing well in the trot, and able to trot a decent corner, there is no way we should be trying to canter. Sofie may be a large pony, but she moves big and she tends to eat up the indoor. It's going to take some work to be able to work in there as well as we do out in a huge yard with plenty of space and the benefit of fresh air and scenery. But we'll have all winter to work on that, won't we?

Sofie says "I'm still awesome."

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya right now we have 60kmph winds and crazy rain and hail. Plus a tornado watch to boot. Yikes no more of those this year.