Sunday 21 August 2011

More ups and downs - but mostly ups

Where to begin with this weeks update...I guess the beginning is as good a place to start as anywhere.
So the start of Kika and my working week was Tuesday, due to her bee/wasp sting on Sunday she had that day and Monday off due to the swelling reaction positioning on her head the bridle would've rubbed it. She was very good, we worked on the pointers L had given us on saturday, K was so good that my friends S and A who were watching siad she was like a different horse to the one they had last seen me riding way back when before her injury, she was calmer, concentrated, listening to me and maintained her outline much better than she used to. She was so well behaved that A, whose horse (also A as it happens lol - never noticed that before) is currently out of action and awaiting an MRI scan on his front leg due to unexplained lameness, the poor pets I really feel for them! Anyway A (the person) was asking what my saddle was like to ride in with the Biomex stuff and how K was going in it etc etc, I told her why doens't she hop up and find out for herself. She didn't have her gear with her that day but said that she'd love to try her out the following day if possible.

So on Wednesday I worked on the same as i'd done the previous day, incorporating L's tips and pointers into my schooling session with K. I didn't put her in the walker as I knew that A was going to have a spin off her when i'd her warmed up. As it was very clammy and warm in the arena we were in i only did about 15-20mins with Kika and let A hop up. All was going well till A asked for a bit of canter to which Kika had decided she had had enough, that she was hot and tired. At this stage she had a good 40mins schooling done, including more demanding work from A as she's more classically trained than I am and is in fact more of a dressage rider. Kika was good in that she didn't rear, but she did give her signals and warning signs that she was considering it! Not fussed A said that as she had done enough already she just walked her around and trotted a little more to which K didn't disagree with.
When she hopped down she was impressed a) with the saddle - she said she'd never felt so comfortable in a GP saddle before and b) with the horse. Bar the slight disagreement at the end she was very happy with how K had gone for her, she said she was very supple up front and really enjoyed her spin.

Thursday was pessoa lungeing day for Miss K, I lunged her in the outdoor and after 8pm at night as it had still been 30C when i got in from work at 6pm that evening. She was a star and listened to me perfectly, trotting and cantering on request and completely ignored the massive convoy of flashing lights and police cards and huge cylindrical building blocks or something that passed while we were working. They couldn't but get her attention as it was dusk and the orange lights were flashing, but besides keeping an eye on them she didn't break from what i was asking of her and moved up and down her transtions on request. She has become so good at lungeing that it's hard to believe she used to just stop when she'd had enough *blushing*.

Friday when i got to the field, this is the face that greeted me, I have no idea how she managed tomove the fly fringe around her ears, but she has been known to be Houdini-esque in her ability to escape from fields so this must just be another trick in her repertoire... *shrug*
Anyways as it was another nice warmish evening (we've had nothing but rain and greyness since June) I had decided to work in the outdoor again as the indoors get very warm! Started our work no problem, walking and trotting around, as we started working on a smaller circle on our trot-walk transitions I somehow lost her. In a downward transition from trot to walk she gave me all of two seconds warning (her bouncing) and then up she went! Reared with me for the first time in months! She had threatened when we started back to work bareback and again on tuesday with A but she hadn't actually reared in so long that i had foolishly been hoping she'd finally moved on. When she came back down i immediately moved her forwards and we keptmoving from then on. She settled back down lovely and didn't attempt to misbehave for the rest of our schooling session. In fact another friend R arrived with his mare as we were about to finish up and when we did finish he commented on how well she had been going - which she had! After her boldness she worked beautifully! I have no idea what came over her in that moment, she wasn't afraid or shying as that is not the reaction to that, to me it felt purely like boldness - as in she was not happy with the trot-walk transitions and this was her way of telling me. Well gee thanks Kika, I'd ratehr you'd develope another form of communication if i'm honnest!
She definitely wasn't scared of something, cos she had a shy at a later stage of the schooling session and there she just lept sideways which is her shying reaction, but again straigthened her out and without breaking stride we circled and passed the spot again without incident (we were cantering at this stage). So she really was just being obstreperous at the start - silly mare. Perhaps she was re-testing the boundaries as this was week four of being back in full work - she may well be thinking she deserves another holiday soon. But no such luck sunshine as you've been checked by the osteo, vet and masseuse and all have given you a 100% clean bill of health, you have a new saddle which cannot be pinching so you are just too fond of your holidays and looking to see if you can get out of work. Well you didn't so I'm glad you realised that you've to suck it up and get on with it!

Of course i then spent the evening mentally going over and over what could have caused her to rear again, winding myself up no end. I wasn't overly worried however as I knew I was having another lesson with L on Saturday and that she'd be able to help me out and tell me what she thinks is going on if Kika decided to show her her underbelly during the class. Low and behold however that Kika behaved almost impeccably in our lesson, she did have one or two moments where she thought about throwing a wobbly but we moved her on and she didn't get a chance. She worked really well, upwards and downwards transitions without fuss or issue, if at any stage she did heat herself up L gave me pointers as to what to do - namely loosen the reins slightly and dirve her on so that she had nothing to fight against and was being moved forward. I usually do do this, but as she had given me so little warning the day before she really did catch me on the hop, silly mare!
I was very happy with our lesson yesterday and thankful that I hadn't worked myself into a state before riding her as i knew i had people on the ground how genuinely wanted to help us out. My mother came to watch as did my friend A (mentioned previously) and even S from tuesday happened to be about so all were there for moral support.
I have no answers as to why she reared on friday, plenty theories but as we have no verbal means of communications these shall remain theories until she tries again, if she tries again - which she probably will. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps this is a nasty quirk i'm going to have to get used to and just work around...Jury is out on that one! To find out more would need someone to watch us all the time and see what appears to be going on with her prior to the fact. Loads of questions and no answers, but we'll keep working at it and see where it leaves us. L has agreed to help me out with lessons/tips/pointers twice a week. On mondays we're going to do pole work and maybe work our way back to cross poles and actually jumping and then on another day in the week we'll work on flatwork.
Today is a day off for Kika, I am going to give her a "makeover" in that she is in dire need of a wash - shampoo and all and she is also in desperate need of a haircut!

I've one more snapshot from yesterday, a bit of a conformation shot i took before popping her back in the field. Not sure if there is much change from previous pictures but i guess every little helps!

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