Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer Summer Summer

It's been hot, it's been humid and I've been spending very little time inside. Which is good!

Bailey has been working regularly, much to her chagrin. We've been mixing dressage and jumping, and enjoying the fact that my trashed hay bales from the fateful hay barn partial flooding of Spring 2018 have resulted in having a fun jump to play with. I've been building it up, and tried it as a corner, a big solid "table" and recently moved the top bales to the side to be a airy-in-the-middle oxer type creature with poles on top. Having 5 "standards" has also made jumping that much more fun - four has been a bit limiting, but having a 5th fence, even if it doesn't move, has been super fun.

On the flat, she's been a bit lazy. She wants to bounce and stare around, but I got after her and really made her work the canter on our last ride and the horse I jumped a couple days later was amazingly light and uphill and steady in her pace... resulting in a magical jump school. I need to remember that the whining and the "work is hard" tantrums are worth it.

Hi Yes my eyeballs are sweating why are we doing this

Arya has been battling the bugs and putting in a few more rides under saddle. She's been progressing slowly, but the moments of feeling like she's really on board with me are really worth it.

Obsessed with these photos

I still struggle what to do with her when she gets behind my leg or starts to get silly. She's been offering a lot more forward lately, and I've been struggling to keep her out of the canter so we can do some trotting. Her MO now is that she either:
- Doesn't want to trot so she either sucks back and does a tiny trot, and then tucks her chin into her chest and  canters, or
- She strongly bends herself out and when I open my inside rein and apply my inside leg to say, um hey stay in this stratosphere plz, she pops up into the canter and gets defensive because she knows it's not what I want and is like GOSH WHY DO I HAVE TO STOP ALREADY even before I start trying to woah her

I've been allowing a lot more canter than I have been before, and she does have a lovely canter. I can be a bit more in her face with the half halts at the canter than I can be at the trot, which makes it a semi-comfortable gait. I do get a bit defensive, as she gets very skippy and swishy with her back end, but so far (knock on wood for me, plz) she hasn't gotten bucky or particularly light in front, so she's been getting a lot better about keeping her feet on the ground.

Much sweaty. I guess we're achieving those mythical wet saddle pads!
On Tuesday, instead of fighting the wanting to run up into the canter, I asked for it earlier and tried to just continue to ask her to work while cantering, and trying the trot work second. It worked decently, but not perfectly; she still misinterprets the inside leg squeeze on her barrel as a forward aid on principal, but I did feel like we got some lateral thinking. Shockingly, it actually went better to the right than the left barrel-movement wise, though she jigged the entire time which was obnoxious.

We're getting some good downward relaxation, but still not achieving true connection. It's a work in progress, especially with a horse so tightly wound as Arya is. I have faith that we'll install more willing lateral work under saddle soon; we've been doing a ton of yielding fore and hind quarters online, which seems to be translating slowly under saddle. Her online work has been improving in leaps and bounds since the Tik clinic, so I expect I'll see more under saddle if I keep the faith and be persistent.

It's less than exciting to say that all we can do is walk, trot and canter most of the time in control, but not usually on the bit or with any relaxation after a year, but I keep telling myself she's not a horse you can rush, and we're repairing a relationship as well as doing some big building block learning at the same time. We'll get somewhere, at some point... I hope ;) Either way, I adore her almost blindly in a way I haven't loved a horse possibly ever... and maybe she will bend under my unending love and determination!


  1. Sounds like both horses are making good progress! Well done jumping the sketchy things from both sides ;)

    1. :) I was very surprised and proud of how well the B has been jumping. It's been 5 years and finally I can point her at things with a general understanding that we'll go over them!

  2. Definitely sounds like you are plugging away and getting stuff done. THe day to day can feel like such a slog but it really adds up.