Sunday 24 July 2011

Astride Again

Seeing as i am currently saddle-less i cannot say that I am back in the saddle, but if i had one i would be, ;-)
Have been hopping up after lungeing her this week to cool her down and get the pair of us re-used to working together in this way.
For our current working schedule we have returned to our three days working, one day rest formula. Within this I am hoping to work her in the pessoa on the middle day so as to keep this rotating slightly so that she doesn't get bored and look for ways to entretain herself (aka - messing/misbehaving).
So this weekend was our first trial run;
I had arranged for the saddle fitter to come at 3pm, and after a phone conversation with him the day before ahad managed to get some brand names out of him and prices so that i could do some googling and annoy the forums i post on for feedback if they'd had dealings with these brands in order to not go into the potential purchase of a new saddle as in the dark and blind as i had bought my current saddle. Which to this day i feel really stupid for doing, but things happened so quickly and in German - not my strongest language - but live and learn, thanks to this experience i now feel more confident in myself and my knowledge of my horse and hope to not repeat my mistakes; that after all is all we can realistically hope to achieve in life! Woah, sorry a bit deep and meaningful there, shall endeavour to stick to the script from now on!

Anyways, as I was bringing the muck-monster (wish I had taken pics, sorry!) in from the field I got a message from the saddler to say that he wasn't going to make it that day and that he'd contact me on monday to reschedule the appointment.
I was both disappointed and relieved by this message, disappointed as I am very much looking forward to getting back into "a" saddle and getting back to business. Yet at the same time i was apprehensive of the fact that bar a few spins where i walked Kika around to cool her off and our disagreement over her trotting last week I hadn't spent very much time on her back. So I chose to view this rescheduling as a blessing in disguise and a hall pass, if you will, to give K and I some more time to get re-aquainted and back on track before the process of saddle testing comes into play.

So spent a good 45mins cleaning the muck monster before popping her in the walker and then lunging her as is becoming the norm for us at the moment. After a good lunge session (I may be setting myself up for a fall here, but *knock-on-wood* she has been angelic in her lunge work the last two weeks and never put a foot wrong/ tossed a buck/ squeal or fart ;-) )
I put on my hat and hopped up for our stress free cool down session. I had decided to just work in walk and on our flexion and bending around corners while carrying herself correctly - thankfully a lesson she has not forgotten, :-D On some occasions as i was asking her to bend around my leg the tossed her head about in her "I-don't-like-what-you're-asking-me" way, silly mare thought i was looking for trot - which i was not as i figured where i'd gone wrong the other time was in asking for the first trot on the corner like i used to, obviously after so long out of work under a rider she would take time to re-find her balance and the pessoa work will help re-build her back to allow her the ability to preform such tasks with a rider on board again. Armed with this epiphany I did try a few sneaky steps of trot down the long side of the arena which were entered into willingly and calmy. Thus (to my mind) proving my theory, ;-)


This is not really a great angle for the poor girl, but where I had her tied didn't allow me much manouverability with body/conformation shots. This was taken post-grooming before working her in the pessoa, I figured it might work as a good before shot....if i remember to take an after shot or just for comparisons sake once i get her back into work and hopefully re-build her up the the muscly beauty (IMO) she was pre-injury.
Anyways she was good as gold on the easy setting of the pessoa, figured i'd go back to square one with her with it seeing as it had been over 2 months since she'd worked in it. Whereas before when asked to canter she'd have to stamp her say on the session with a buck/attempt to take off, she calmly did everything that was asked of her, smoothly transitioning up and down the gaits as asked remaining attentive and supple.


After helping a friend and her 6year old get at another riding school to get ready, I was kind of only going to go through the motions with Kika this afternoon. I went to the barn with the intention of lungeing her and then seeing how i felt before deciding whether i'd hop up and if i did what we'd do.
I needn't have worried as usual i found a new lease of life at the barn (don't horses just have an amazing way of recharging the batteries for you?!), brought herself in and cleaned her up, popped her in the walker for 20minutes as i got the rest of gear ready and set up in "our" arena and then collected her for some lungeing. We used the whole arena and worked on transitions up and down in the three paces, with her carrying herself in her own outline in trot of her own accord. She had started doing this the weekend she returned to the field, but she now does so more consistently on her own - i really think the work we have been doing is paying off and the penny is starting to drop, :-D
After 25minutes of that I hopped up for a stroll around the arena intending to work on trotting as she was warmed up and moving correctly. To say she was amazing makes me sound like a sappy-mammy, but on this occasion i truly am. She worked correctly (for the most part, we're both still learning how to work in an outline) and transitioned smoothly from walk to trot and back, taking in circles changes of rein (with and without returning to walk), figures of eight and even a lovely calm and balanced serpentine with her bending correctly, keeping her balance and outline without falling in on herself - a big deal for me! Needless to say i only asked this of her once as she did it so well on that occasion, why ruin a good thing? ;-)
I cooled her off and picked up her head collar and rode her back down to the yard to the same spot as the picture above; I'm not sure if the double doors of the big arena can be seen in the background of the photo, but on my arrival at the same spot today i saw that there was no one in there, so before i hopped off i decided why not go in for a walk around and re-aquaint ourselves with the bigger arena as when we return to lessons they will be taking place in there.
On our first walk around we had a bit of a spook at sand that had been thrown up against the side, or perhaps it was the light coming through the ceiling, whatever caught her eye she took a jump sideways eyes on stalks, but thankfully i didn't slip out a side door. walked on a bit and pulled a circle to pass the scary Kika eating spot again with a much less ostentatious reaction, so continued our way around the arena. Chancing my arm i asked her to walk a bit more collected and to take up a bit of contact and form an outline as she walked, feeling her willing i figured i'd push the boat out a little further again and get the trotting "first" out of the way aswell while it was quiet.
The good behaviour continued and we got a nice calm trot in an outline (again lost it a couple of times but we are doing a lot better than we used to!) we did a couple of circles, changes of rein and a figure of eight. She really was such a star! Q lots of patting for a great littel horsey as we cooled down again!

After finishing up and tying her ladyship back up I went to the smaller arena to gather my lunge gear and jacket in which i'd left my phone (aka-watch); I was mortified to realise i had been on her back almost 45minutes (on top of the lungeing and walker). She really did earn her rest day tomorrow! *Scarlet-faced*
Writing about it now makes me so happy for the simple fact that she did not take a lame step and behaved so well!
Fingers crossed that all keeps going well for us and that we find a saddle that suits us!

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