Thursday, March 12, 2009

Excellent progression

Today our friendly game included some work with my 45' line once again, looping it around her bum and applying pressure, tossing it all over her body, tossing it past her head (as if to rope a calf), and whirling it over her ears. I also tossed it over the saddle horn later while having her circle to tighten our cinch in phases and applied pressure so that she could be accustomed to experiencing the pull on a horn (ie. a rider becoming unbalanced, dragging a calf, etc). Her driving, yo-yo, and porcupines were great today - she was extremely responsive and respectful! Since respect wasn't much of an issue today, we did very little of our switchback game (which little bit we did she excelled at). Her sideways game was great as well - multiple steps in either direction. The only squeeze game we did today was between me and the wall (which she did easily of course). We used the 22' for our circling game again today, doing the traveling circle (trot), spiraling in and out (trot), and doing changes in direction. We also got a full circle of canter in either direction! Her first attempt to the left (counter-clockwise) she cross-fired with her leads, but doing her full laps she had her leads correct. She was a little RB doing the patterns on the 22', rushing around at the trot, however she did complete them with not too many mistakes (and quite a few successful runs) and we were able to finish with her LB.

Under-saddle she was quite responsive and quiet with our three-part maneuver, relaxing more than usual with her bend-to-a-stop to the right (her more difficult side). At first she was a little RB but we did some quick weave and figure-8, which turned her back to being LB once more. She was a lot more relaxed under-saddle this session overall, she is definitely becoming more comfortable with the weight and new-ness of it all! We did a little walking to make sure she was comfortable before taking her up into the trot and doing some point-to-point, where I ask her to move off from one point in the arena to another specific point, where she can stop and rest. The point is to achieve snappy transitions (halt to trot, trot to halt), responsibility on her part (to pick up and maintain a particular gait), and snappy halts (ie. stop where I say when I say, through bending to a stop at a pre-determined point). It was something taught to me at a Jonathan Field clinic and I find it works really well in building impulsion and respect under-saddle. We also did some small circles on the wall, some direction changes, a little stick-to-the-rail (never micromanaging, putting the horse on the rail and expecting her to stay there - if she moves off simply correcting with a light direct rein and some leg...teaches the horse responsibility to do what I ask until I ask otherwise), and some back-up (which she was very light at). She was extremely responsive and exceptionally willing today!! We finished off with some trotting a figure-8 over the entire arena and then by walking out (cooling out) along the rail. I was pretty impressed with her, she did extremely well. She seemed very comfortable under-saddle once we started working, her focus 100% on me for the most part despite snow loudly falling off the arena roof constantly and light spots developing in the first the sunlight spots spooked her a bit but she willingly checked them out when I asked and was calm from then on. Even the snow and odd sounds at the far end of the arena turned out to be not so scary after all! She spooked twice throughout the entire ordeal, each time calming down almost instantly and continuing on for an amazing session! Very proud of her today and looking forward to some cantering soon.

She was a little difficult to catch again today (just quietly avoiding me lol) but was great to put away - normally she takes off almost right away but today she just relaxed after I removed the halter, standing quietly, eyes half-closed in the sun as she enjoyed a nice scratch behind the ears :)

Did extremely well today, remaining LB throughout his 7 games and patterns on the 22'!!!

His bandage is supposed to be left on for 2 days each time we dress it, so today was day 2 and time to remove it! The swelling was much less today compared to when we dressed it Tuesday, the leg was quite tight. He also had really good flexibility in the leg - doing his physio exercise he was able to touch his toe to his elbow quite easily after a couple of initial stretches (same as yesterday). So, so far so good! I'm not too worried about his future flexibility or mobility but am just hoping then that we can prevent any progression of the arthritis already present...hopefully the physio and care reduces it back to nothing! Crossing our fingers :)

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