I've been trying to blog, guys, I sincerely miss it.
The combo of my work computer not allowing me to comment or post, and the phone interface on google chrome being relatively useless has resulted in a lot of drafts and very few actual posts. So let's do some catch up, and hopefully I can get photos in!
The horses have been in work, particularly since the hubs moved to VA. It's been a great distraction and stress reliever for me. Bailey has done some jumping, though it's been too wet to do it often, and we've been working on straightness, consistent contact, and re-installing the half halt that has wandered off again. I bought a dressage saddle (more on that below!) and she's been going really, really nicely.
Arya was doing her now-routine walk and small amounts of trot work, and was starting to improve in the category of "starting shit". Her usual evasion, rearing, has become less fun now that I don't freak out, and she occasionally gets mad and defaults back to refusing to move, but I've also had some rearing moments resolve back into productive work. We've had some larger tension problems as the temps have dropped, and the last time I got on her, I got off pretty quickly (it felt like she was alternating between bucking and rearing and she wouldn't stop jigging) and put her back on the line. At this point, working her involves almost an hour of lunging and ground work; she feels the need to go out and tear around on the line until she's tired, and then we do our small work, and then I would get on a soaked and puffing horse to "ride". Her ulcers seem to be back (always...) and work was just miserable, so I've taken a step back and we've only played on the ground for a few weeks now, which is much more fun.
I'm also toying with massage and stretching - both seem to really encourage relaxion in Arya, in particular, and the massage has been beneficial for both horses so far. I'm heavily in the market for a massage book or two - does anyone have a recommendation there?? I'd love some outside input!
Speaking of purchases, I caved soon after hubs moved away and paid the $30 to have a consignment Stubben Aramis shipped to me for a trial. And then I promptly fell in love with it, despite my best intentions to try and hate it. My leg is able to contact much more of Bailey, and is much more correct in the way it hangs. I'm much more stable and I'm starting to fight my habits of tipping my hips forward and then collapsing my upper body. I've been using my PIVO heavily to video rides in trial saddles, and now rides as I try to improve my dressage, and I'm becoming so much more body aware lately. My wandering outside elbow, my wiggly hands and my slumped upper body are all starting to look better to me!
In addition to overhauling my position, I've been feeling some good progress with Bailey as a benefit of fixing myself, along with the focus I've been putting on laying the basics back on her. We've been hacking around the pasture fence as well and that has gotten so much better. The first few times were a bit scary with a very up, spooky horse, but she seems to be figuring out that the neighbor's cows aren't coming for her (yet).
So yeah, that has been what we've been up to. Working away, enjoying the cool to cold but no snow yet weather as much as we can. I'm eyeballing items for my Christmas list (we do a family secret santa style gift exchange to keep the holidays more affordable) and any Black Friday splurges I might actually need...
I'm trying to figure out a cooler for Arya, as my main focus. Even with "just" lunging, she's been getting very sweaty, which means that when I work both horses, Bailey's cooler is generally soaked and hanging to dry, or actually on Arya. I can't decide which brands are worth my time, and I just noticed my default Weatherbeeta Therapy-tec combo neck cooler is gone in Arya's size off of their clearance... so it's time to ask for suggestions there, too.
So, anyone who still reads this:
- Favorite massage books? Or ones you've heard good things about?
- Best cooler? I heavily prefer ones with neck covers, and need something that will work well and move a pretty heavy amount of moisture without taking 40,000 years. Also prefer straps to secure it - I don't turn out in fleece, but Arya does stall walk and I often work her first and let her stand in her stall while I work Bailey and she dries.