Monday, November 8, 2010

The Right Decision

My decision not to go ahead with our lesson was definitely the right one. She is still rideable, and I will continue to ride her until she tells me to stop (haha), but she’s definitely not at her best, and a dressage lesson would have meant waving bye-bye to any chance of subsequent November rides. On Tuesday I rode Sofie outside, and she did fairly well. We went on a nice trail ride and then worked in the yard, where had a bit of an opinion clash. I intended to ride her mostly at a walk, with some trotting, mostly to see how she was after her head-bobbing lame incident. Fireball wanted to trot. And canter. A lot. I was not thrilled with this, as she wasn’t paying attention, and I was sure she did not need to be trotting and cantering like a maniac. So she got yelled at a few times. It was kind of a weird, moody ride for both of us. She went forward very well without any resistances (except when it came to down transitions), but her ears were back a lot of the time. Puzzling, but it probably had to do with the fact that up until she went lame, we had been bombing around on our rides, doing lots of trot and canter work. Sofie loves to go forward, and she does try to please, so I think she was still trying to do what she thought I wanted, and paying for it with discomfort, so the ears were probably back in frustration.

We did canter a couple times. The first time going through The Place Where We Like To Canter, she took the canter and then veered off toward a hill, which is exactly where she does not need to be cantering. I mean, really. Hill work at a canter, just the most excellent thing to do when your hock is flaring up, right? So I tried to pull her away from the hill, which made her disgruntled, of course. We also cantered in the corner near the driveway, and it felt well balanced. She thought about picking up the right lead a couple times, but then went “No”, showing very good judgment indeed.

She held up really well, only starting to head-bob slightly well into the ride. I dismounted shortly after, since she still wasn’t terribly into “just walking”.

The next time I got out to the barn, the other three mares were all out picking up hay wispies, and once I got in the barn, I looked through the arena and saw that Sofie was standing in the shelter with her bad leg cocked. I was feeling terrible for her until she walked away from me, not wanting to be caught. She walked all the way to the other mares and proceeded to hide behind them (one of her old tricks that she hasn’t done in forever). I can remember her not wanting to be caught maybe one other time this whole year. Fortunately I found a dressage whip that was randomly lying in the outdoor (talk about convenient) and moved Sofie around until she finally decided to just be caught.

She actually free schooled well; I got her to move out nicely in the trot. After we groomed Sofie, we sticked her to find out how tall she actually is, since we were curious after hearing about a supposedly 15.2 hand TB who turned out to be only 14.2. Sofa was suspicious of the measuring stick, but she stood, relatively squareish, kind of (good enough). Turns out she’s really only a little over 14 hands (she would need to be shod to make it to 14.1)! “Sofa! You’re short! You’re a little pony!” We exclaimed. Sofa did not appreciate the teasing (she doesn’t like comments about the size of her belly or butt, either…such a girl).

I rode for about 20 minutes, and she did well at the walk. Her turns were good, and she stayed on the rail nicely, with reminders. The same was true of the trot. She only had one brief gnarly moment near the end of the ride, but she started head bobbing slightly after a little trot work, so I walked her a little more and then quit.

I did have a good ride yesterday...the weather is cooperating for now, which makes things easier on Sofa. I have lots to write about, including the awesome clinic I audited last month, and (more recently) my awesome lesson with Jesse!

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