Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ride Recaps, Conformation Shot Fail, and a Hoof Glamor Shot

On Tuesday, I pulled Sofie out of her stall, anticipating another indoor ride. But by the time we were ready, the sun had come out, and since all the horses were in, the Big Field was OURS. She was stiff, but not horribly so, and I did lots of walking and some trotting. We didn't canter because the footing was pretty saturated, and I stuck to straight lines, which I tend to do anyway. She trotted well and stayed straight without drifting, and she stayed soft in the mouth/neck. She even went through water when I asked. There was a little pool of water, maybe five feet in diameter, and she drifted to the side a bit on the approach, like "You know, we could easily go around this," but when I persisted she went through.

Eventually it started to rain, and we went in the indoor to work a little more. She was better without Diabolical Mare in there (Sofie worries about that horse, and I don't blame her, considering Diabolical Mare has threatened to kick us twice now while being ridden). She still wanted to fall in a bit, but it was manageable. She is very stiff to the right, but we really haven't been working much on bending so that makes sense. I'm hoping to work on it over the winter, since I will have no choice but to do some bending in the smaller arena.

The rain stopped again, so I decided to take her on a trail ride/cooldown. We went only partway down the trail since the wind picked up and I didn't enjoy the potential for getting whacked by branches. I rode back through the yard, and the footing didn't seem slippery, so I got it in my head to canter her, even though I was tired and we'd probably ridden an hour. So I trotted her through the new Place Where She Likes To Canter and put my outside leg on. She trotted on, not even blinking at my eager little aid. Thrown, I turned her around and tried again. Still nothing, and this time she seemed a little annoyed, like "WTF are you doing asking me to canter at the end of a long ride, beyotch? Don't you remember what happened when that idiot trainer convinced you to do that?" Yup, Sofa, I do. I pulled her down to a walk and then a halt with difficulty (I didn't get her to canter, but I DID get her nice and jazzed up and strong and not listening, yaaaay!) and got off feeling like a total idiot, and I felt like I had negated all the good progress I'd been making with the canter. FAIL. Rider error. FAIL. And just for good measure, to underscore how strongly I feel about how dumb and moronic I was, FAIL. I mean, I know better. I know I'm human, and I will make mistakes and sometimes for whatever reason, be it hormonal/tired/afraid/not afraid/just freaking STUPID, I will do dumb things. But gaaaah, I HATE when I do stuff like that.

So that was a sucky way to end what had actually been a pretty awesome ride. I mean, we rode in the field, the indoor, on the trail AND in the yard. How often do we get to do all that? And we really did quite well, at least by our standards.

So on Thursday I went back, hoping to redeem myself. We were all set to bring the horses in that evening, so we got there around 4:30, brought Sofie in, free schooled and brushed her, and then brought everyone else in at 5. Sofie was kind of high-headed/snorty/high-octane, and I tacked her up thinking "I probably should have free schooled you longer". It was chilly and windy and wheeeeee! So I started out in the indoor, walking for a bit and then trotting. She was fine in the indoor, of course. So finally I committed to going outside. As soon as we started walking to the Big Field gate, she felt very "keen". I went, okay, time for Mr. Whip to go bye-bye, and dropped him.

Out in the field, we managed to walk around and stay reasonably reasonable. She was drifting a lot more, but it could've been worse. I walked her for quite a while and then eased into trot work. It was more for my benefit than hers, although it certainly doesn't hurt her to walk, and I appreciate that she has learned to Just Walk and not go "Why can't we go CANTER???" every five seconds. She trotted fairly well, although her drifting was pretty pronounced at times, and she wound up with her head cranked to one side as I attemped Inside Leg To Outside Rein and she perfected Not Listening.

Our first canters were "interesting". She picked up the canter tracking right across a hill (although she was going straight, not really on any particular bend). I think she picked up the left lead, although she's quite athletic so it's hard to feel when she counter-canters (that's my excuse, at least). She wanted to drift toward the barn, I went "No" and kept my outside rein on, and she had "opinions" about that. The first time, she dropped back to the trot, glaring a bit. But the second time, she started throwing her head around. I half halted several times, and she went on, still cantering, but she didn't throw her head again. Later on I succeeded in getting a few strides of cantering straight away from the barn, uphill. The momentum helps, I think, but I know she was listening to me since she doesn't often break into a canter on her own when she trots uphill. I was relieved that I hadn't ruined her for cantering from an actual aid, and the rest of the ride was quite fun. It was by no means quiet, and she wasn't totally soft or responsive (she was in OTTB mode), but I enjoyed it, and she never did anything worrying. We had a nice long canter toward the barn (which I planned for) and I really enjoyed that. It takes me a while to warm up to the idea, but it really is fun to ride my little forward, semi-responsive, semi-out of control Sofa.

From a recent attempt at conformation shot-taking. No, she doesn't really look this bad. Yes, she is an uncooperative beastie.

This is the best we got. Yup.

Hoof rehab WIN


  1. That girl will DEFINITELY be able to really bring her hind legs underneath her! She's soooo gorgeous, even with the attitude lol!

    And I love her hooves, they look gorgeous.