Friday, November 27, 2009

Playing at liberty = relaxation

The following got me thinking (don't ask me why this one and not the millions of other similar ones I have seen, lol) I should maybe be doing more liberty work with Link on the ground to get him further relaxed. Just look at how relaxed and supple that horse is!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Wieeell, looks like Koolaid might be leased out for sure, though I won't have confirmation for another day or so. I also had someone (we'll call her S) come in and try Link out today! She was quite soft and gentle with him and while I felt she had a lot more experience behind her than I, there were a few other ideas/training thoughts she had that I wasn't sure about/didn't agree with. However, I did not feel that any of it was harmful to his training/health/well-being. I threw a million-and-one questions at my instructor today though and asked for some good dressage books to read ;)

Link worked well today, though I only rode him for about 15 min after a couple minutes of groundwork (during which he cantered nicely in either direction!). He was fairly relaxed, though not fully of course after only 15 minutes of warm-up, lol. We did a little canter as well - Link actually picked up the RIGHT lead again on the LEFT rein! Haha. He picked up the right lead on the right rein too, which was fabulous. I just need to work on suppling him on both sides equally now, as his left was a little stiff again. It was nice seeing Link work from the ground though today, as I was able to see a bit how he was crooked, but also how far along he is coming. S did well on him though he did not loosen up quite as much with her. I felt a bit disappointed after S rode him though, as she did not really give neither me nor Link much credit when he did not work as well for her as he does for me. Furthermore, we're both still learning and he's in the basic stages of being developed yet as I get into the dressage realm of things. Ah *sigh* I felt better after talking to K (albeit just a little), lol.

Mom had a lesson on Sonny today and both did fantastic together! Lots of w/t, including some trot where both parties were relaxed and where Sonny looked great ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The joys of ambidextrous horses

I've been feeling a little uninspired to write about our horses as of late, especially since I mostly babble about the same things each time, lol. So I'll just stick to a brief synopsis.

I have been showing Koolaid to a few prospective lessees as of late and spent the wee hours of this morning completing a 5 page in-depth contract, lol. I'm pretty laid back however I still just wanted to cover all my bases and have documented insurance to protect myself, Koolaid, and any potential lessee ;)

Link has been doing extremely well, including in today's lesson. However K has come to the conclusion that it seems I have an ambidextrous horse whom I will have to almost literally TIME as I work him in each direction, to make sure that I never unintentionally over-work one side and cause him to be one-sided, since this is so easily done. Lol. Proof? We were having trouble getting him to loosen up and bend his ribcage on the right rein, which was causing him to pick up the left lead going to the right. So, over a few sessions, I worked him extra hard on that side - longer trot sessions on the right rein, lots of bending to that side, the point where he was picking up his right lead without trouble. Don't get me wrong, he still has to work extra hard to canter to the right, however he was so soft and supple to that side and was picking up that lead rather easily! Today, however, he picked up his RIGHT lead when I asked him to canter on the LEFT rein!! What the heck!! LOL. We did some bending exercises and actually found him LESS supple on his LEFT side today!!!! Lmao. SO, I'll have to work slightly harder on his left side, but will have to otherwise keep in mind to just work everything equally (as I was previously). Why do I pick horses who make me work harder than necessary?!! On that note though, we obtained some absolutely beautiful canter to the right today (on the correct lead of course, with only a few tries at it); he was soft and supple, relaxed, balancing himself, rhythmic - he just felt so awesome!!! He was even tracking up nicely at the trot at times ;) Last Saturday I also worked Link in the outdoor arena while the ranch rodeo was going on in the indoor arena. Save for a lot of excess energy and a few sharp lost-his-head moments (where he returned to focus literally 3 seconds later, on a loose rein), he worked beautifully, including picking up the right lead to the right - easily and first try. I need to get him going on some other things though - Parelli Patterns, hacks outside, etc - to keep him from getting bored though.

Mom had a lesson on Sonny today as well and both did well, though Sonny was a little spunkier than necessary at the beginning of the lesson, lol. They have another lesson set up for Thursday, which is fantastic for both!

Missy seems to be doing ok in her new home - I finally spoke to the new owners and though they seem happy with her, they have had a few minor snags with her (she being a young horse and their being not so experienced). I offered them some advice; hopefully they will stick to it and will take up the lessons I advised them to! Missy very clearly loves their daughter though, so if they give her the chance (as I've said before) and stick to a lesson program, that horse will make a great partner for their daughter :)

Otherwise, I think that's it to report!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lesson mania

Link and I had a lesson both last Thursday and today. Last lesson he did very well - we worked on getting him very supple first prior to asking for the canter. To the left he did great, but to the right, we only got the correct lead the first time, when we "surprised" him. K (my instructor) left me with some new exercises to do with Link (such as changing bends down a centerline) and some stuff to work on (such as having him canter to the right on-line on the ground).

Yesterday was my first chance to work with Link since returning home from work; we started with our couple minutes of groundwork, as usual, including some canter. He picked up the correct lead on a 22-24' circle and balanced himself pretty well going to the left, but had a lot of trouble picking up his lead to the right (he'd either cross-fire or just counter-canter). Finally he did pick it up though and we ended there to take up our under-saddle work. Under-saddle, I primarily worked on suppling and relaxing Link throughout his body, both sides...particularly on the right side. We worked a lot on strengthening the right side as well - lots of trot. Lots of bending and relaxation at the trot before calling it a day. We finished by cooling out at liberty (including trotting some patterns - long side of the arena inclusive), which was pretty fun! Even down the long sides of the arena he was great and responsive to my seat - he didn't pick up too much speed. We even did some leg yield at the trot at liberty!! It's a challenge for me to figure out how to tell him to leg yield without any reins to use, but we managed to get a few steps here and there in each direction. K has also pointed out that as we continue working I'll use less rein to get him bent and more leg instead (like I do with Silver). At first I didn't really realize I use much rein - and I don't, the rein I use is primarily supportive, but I use more rein than I would on say Silver, for a bend. So I think the ultimate would be to practise some of these things (bend, leg yields, etc) at liberty - with no rein. Maybe if we take that rein away every once in awhile I will learn how to communicate with him effectively and he will learn what I am asking and to be responsive, without the supportive rein. We'll try it out ;)

Today Link's circling game was fabulous - he picked up the correct lead to the right 100 percent of the time and only cross-fired a couple of times. His left lead was fine. So, progress! I'll keep working him on the ground on the small circles as well, to help teach him to balance himself at the canter. Under-saddle, K had me work on some relaxed trot with Link as well as some spiraling in and out at the trot. I am finally figuring out how to communicate to Link that I want him to stay bent, not fall in, and still spiral. Lol. We picked up a nice canter to the left rather easily (he is really learning to keep his mind relaxed and not get so wound up when we pick up speed!), and picked up the correct lead to the right after a couple of tries! The best part was that he remained pretty relaxed - after I figured out I could use my outside rein to slow him down and forget about bend, hehehe. We took a couple of spins around the arena (achieving some amazing relaxation, suppleness, and even frame, complete with some tracking up) before calling it quits on the canter. Poor guy had to work pretty hard going to the right though, but he did well and tried his hardest for me. K mentioned that he seemed to be expecting pain going to his right - like he used to hurt when he cantered to the right and is expecting the same to happen now; then as he canters, he realizes that he's ok, that it doesn't hurt, and he relaxes. So, the more we canter to the right and the more he is relaxed (and pain-free), the more we'll improve. I think too this new saddle suits him better as well - he does not swish his tail at all anymore and there's no more uber-elevation/buck when he canters. Meanwhile probably our biggest challenge is teaching Link he can move forward - he is so used to being held back that when he gets excited, he just gets elevated and shortens his stride (at the trot, he basically does a peanut-pusher trot, lol) - even if I have left the reins loose. So now it's to teach the racehorse to have impulsion, stretch out, and move forward (lol) - relaxedly. We're getting there! Today we also obtained some good extended trot strides as well. Anyways, today was some awesome success and I am looking forward to working hard for our next lesson on Tuesday.

While Link allowed me to walk right up to him today, he didn't seem so keen on the halter (he initially walked away when he saw it), so I guess it's time for me to get off my lazy butt and do some fun stuff with him - like progressing his groundwork (keeping his mind engaged) and taking him out for some hacks in the nearby fields. I wish we could do some riding in the mountains or something as well! Obviously though he needs more incentive to want to work with me (though he already does so much), so we'll have to work even harder at our partnership.

On another note, I haven't had much chance to work with Cody yet, but it looks like I might have a couple of weeks off here - so I will be using the time to work with both Cody and Link (and get some things caught up around home of course!).

I looked at an un-started 3yo Dutch Warmblood x TB mare and although I really liked her, we have decided not to purchase her. I just really don't want another horse on my plate right now, unless she is great. This mare is really nice and could be great, but it will be a long while before we can fully tell. She's a little light of bone, especially in her legs, and seems more suited as an eventer than a show-jumper. In the mean time, a lot of money would go into a filly we still have to have registered and whom I won't have the time and such to work with until at least next March, if not later in the year. There is a warmblood sale in March, so unless I see something that really catches my eye before then, I will attend the sale and see what I come up with there! Apparently good-quality, registered mares (about the equivalent of the mare I just mentioned) went for $1000 at this fall's sale. So I'll put some money aside and hopefully will spot something even better at the spring sale. We'll see, but in the mean time I have Link to concentrate on.

In another direction, I actually have someone coming out to see Koolaid tomorrow, and another on Sunday. I am currently looking to lease him out to someone, as I just don't have the time to put into him right now (I'd rather invest my time into Link and maybe another mare who has the potential to take me to the top, at this point). When we have our own property it will be different, because I don't have to spend time and gas to hang out with him and take him for the occasional spin - having our horses on our own property though could be while yet. Until then, I would love for someone to have the opportunity to learn on him and to excel on him - he gets used and is kept in shape, is loved, and the rider has a great opportunity... rather than him spending his time in a pasture. So, we'll see, as I am going to be pretty picky - they have to be good people who will treat him well. I'm not just going to send him on his way if it is not in his best interests :) Man, I would love for someone to even just keep Link at his current level while I am away through Dec, Jan, and Feb too, however I think it would be hard to find someone willing to take the time (who wants to take the time) and who has the patience and skill to not ruin what we've got so far. So we'll sort of be re-starting a bit when we start up again in March, but such is life!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Holding my breath

Link seemed a bit tired today, but still gave his all and seemed maybe a little more supple to the right than he was yesterday? I tried him out in the double-jointed loose-ring Happy Mouth and while he did well (c'mon, he's Link, hehehe), he didn't do as well as he normally does in the C3 cradle bit (less resistance, more flexion, softer mouth in the C3). We worked on some extended trot (got several strides!), patterns, leg yields, sitting trot, and canter. His canter was okay but pretty speedy and thus also unbalanced; he did pick up the right lead though after a couple tries(!!), which is something we couldn't get yesterday. Tomorrow I think though we will work on more suppleness, softness, and responsiveness, particularly laterally....I think it will help our canter more than doing more actual canter tomorrow ;)

By the time I was finished with Link, the people who came to see Missy the other day (yes, Dad and family) arrived to try Missy out again. This time I let them do everything themselves, from catching her to riding her, to get a more thorough idea of her. Daughter #1 did great on her (90% of the time, a couple times she wasn't sure what to do), and Dad did great for awhile - especially since both were basically green. After awhile though Dad got a little frustrated because he was having trouble getting impulsion out of Missy. He was busy claiming she must be tired ("so soon!" he exclaimed disappointingly) when I offered to try. The minute I got on she felt fresh and we trotted, did transitions, halts, sidepass, and turns on the hind. I had to (nicely) explain to him that it wasn't her - it was him. He had to be light, ask in phases, do some exercises, and 'reward little' sometimes. He actually did manage to get off his high horse and admit that maybe, just maybe, it was him, and not Missy. Missy was doing fabulous! It had nothing to do with her! Anyways, he hmm'd and haw'd and finally decided to sleep on a decision. On one hand, he wasn't sure if Missy had enough get-up-and-go, but on the other hand, he knew he could trust Missy with his daughter. I explained to him too that as Missy is further developed (through consistent work), she'll develop more get-up-and-go too, she'll have the impulsion when needed, but that lessons would be of great benefit in the mean time to teach both rider and horse. Personally, I think she will be perfect for the daughter - she'll take care of her and she will have enough energy (she already does, the two just need to learn to work together as a team - something they have a good start at). Don't think the guy didn't try to talk our price down though! He would already have been getting Missy for a steal at the price she was advertised at, but refused to pay a penny more than much less than we were asking. I told him I'd talk to the owner, then left to let him sweat it out ;) A couple hours later he called me back saying he'd like to buy her, but that he still wouldn't go above his price. I pondered what to do, but finally decided to cave. We need Missy gone and holding onto her longer might just mean we end up dropping her price even further, meanwhile sinking even more money into her - we can't do it. Plus, I am only going to have less and less time here, to the point where she eventually wouldn't be worked with at all. Dad demanded too that he have Missy's breeding certificate (etc) so that she could be registered, so I passed him along to the owner. Of course she should be registered, but the man is getting a steal even if she were just grade! Anyway, at least Missy is going to what I think will be a well-intentioned home where she will be doted on by a young girl. The rest, the man can deal with through the owner - I am simply the trainer and negotiator for the deal :) Man, selling horses is's almost a full-time job on its own! Hopefully I can count her as sold though; I am holding my breath until the money is actually in my hands, lol.

Sorry if this (from some, to all, of it) is not all that coherent...I blame lack of sleep. Tomorrow is another full day, though slightly more laid back. At least I only have my own horses to work tomorrow (Link and maybe Cody). And I should probably go write my Class 4...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dressage brilliance and REALLY annoying (read: idiotic) horse buyers

Well it's the end of another long day and I am eager for those clean sheets, so this will be quick!

I missed the chance to work with any of the horses Saturday, as I ended up stuck in town. Yesterday though I had some prospective buyers interested in Missy and so had her ready for 3pm. My intention had been to work Missy in front of them, work Link before 5pm (feed time), then maybe even work with Cody a little. Well 3pm rolled around and the people wanting to see Missy had not shown up or even bothered to call. She still needed to be worked though, so I put her through her paces both on the ground (just the usual stuff) and under-saddle - w/t/c (her canter is getting a lot better!!!), leg yields, bends (she gave me some amazingly light and loose bends!!), etc. She had a LOT of impulsion, so I had a lot to work with, a lot of clay I could mould, so to speak ;) At ten to four, the people (we'll call them Dad and family) finally called - they'd lost my number. They were nearby and wanted to see Missy? No apology or anything of course. Of course though I said yes, and Missy and I cooled out and waited for them. When they arrived, they seemed surprised she had already been worked. Well, yea. My life does not (*gasp*) revolve around you and I still have horses to work. So they switched saddles (they wanted to ride her western) and all clambered aboard, one at a time: dad first, then daughter #1 (the one in need of a horse), then daughter #2. I have to say this: Missy did awesome. Dad definitely alluded to knowing more than he did; not only did he not know any correct terms (for example, he asked me if she "sat back on her feet"...he meant "does she collect"), he asked all the textbook questions you would ask from reading a book rather than through experience, and his equitation was lacking. That's okay, we all learn at our own pace however I need a buyer to be honest and up-front with their skill level, so I can ensure a successful match. Then he proceeded to tell me Missy was not trained as much as he'd like. SHE'S A GREEN HORSE! I TOLD YOU AS MUCH!! IF YOU WANT A FINISHED HORSE, BUY A FINISHED HORSE, NOT A GREEN HORSE! Don't expect some poor green horse to be finished. My horses take time, but they come out good horses. Better horses than the ones who are forced into frames and over-loaded with expectations and piss-poor training lacking in a strong foundation. Besides, SHE WALKED, SHE TROTTED (endlessly, I might add), SHE CANTERED (ALSO endlessly, and on the CORRECT lead each time), SHE SIDEPASSED (something she has just learned to near-perfect), SHE TURNED ON THE HIND. She backed, she did everything a green horse with her (limited) level of training is supposed to do. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT FROM A GREEN HORSE?! Apparently she was not "trained enough" because she was not "reined". Yup, "not reined" means "she doesn't neck rein". A dressage horse does not neck rein. *Ahem* a GREEN dressage horse does not neck rein. Neck reining, I point out, is NOT something I teach a green horse. It is something that just comes as you "finish" a horse in a curb bit (because you're riding one-handed). It is definitely not something that I expect or even ask for out of a green horse. You're just going to end up with a confused and stiff horse. The other reason she wasn't "trained enough"? She does not fully collect. May I insert a newsflash here? She's GREEN. Collection is something that is developed with TIME. It does not come with about 90 SPORADIC days on a horse (which they were aware of). You have to be working with them consistently. Then he has the GALL to tell me her trot is rough. Just as we watch Daughter #1 float past at a beautiful trot. I made sure to make it clear her trot was NOT rough. You know why it felt rough to Dad? Equitation. No offense, but don't walk in here and treat me disrespectfully, pretending to know ALL, and act like my horse is not properly trained or worth the pitiful amount we are asking for her. ESPECIALLY when I have had dressage professionals walk in here and really like her, compliment her gaits, and be impressed with where she is at, particularly with how little time this year I have had to devote to her. The fact that Missy carted around all three family members, at all three gaits, BEAUTIFULLY and without complaint (she worked for TWO hours between my working her and their working her), I think says a lot. She tried her best and worked very well for them, particularly for the 13yo daughter. For a green horse, she really wowed me - she acted like a finished horse, especially since she was under green riders. Anyway, I do make this sound worse than it actually was - Daughter #1 got along fabulously with Missy and though I didn't care all that much for Dad, Mom was fantastic and the daughters were great with the mare. Also, I know if Missy went to them that she WOULD be going to a home where she was well-cared for and she wouldn't be abused. I was still pretty irked at Dad though - the gall! Anyway, by the time I was finished with them, it was past feed time and I couldn't pull Link away from his food (not when I wouldn't have much time to feed him afterward and he cannot afford to miss a meal!), so catering to Missy's prospects meant I missed out on working with Link - which only served to piss me off further. Missy's awesome-ness did cheer me up though. I keep calling her green, but she has really almost crossed the line into "broke-with-basics-horse", or "young-but-solid-and-with-experience-horse". Now, really she is just a young horse who needs further developing.

Today I commenced the day with another dressage lesson on Link. His trot was fantabulous today - absolutely amazing. My sitting trot was also really good. We started off with a sitting trot, something I have never been able to do on him (because I was too stiff and because he was always so hollow, making it even more difficult for me) at the very beginning of a session! We continued it for a good 15 minutes or so, which felt absolutely incredible. Later we also worked on some extended trot (which was really neat to feel beneath me, it was crazy!) as well as some canter! His canter transitions were much better today than last time even, and my seat was a little better for him (I lose my seat credibility at the faster trot as he moves up into the canter). Also, his canter was calmer all-round - so calm we actually cantered down the long side of the arena!!! When I first got him, he was not even safe to ride - forget about trotting down the long side! Now, he trots down the long side, but I didn't think he was ready to canter down the long side - I was wrong!! He had a lot of trouble picking up his right lead (he never did get it this time around) because his barrel was too stiff on that side, but he definitely tried his heart out for me. Man, I am impressed: we both did very well today. I have another lesson Thursday before leaving for work over the weekend (should be back either Sunday or Monday), so I am looking forward to working with Link tomorrow and Wednesday prior to our next lesson!

I admit, I went home for a nap before returning to the horses (lol): I brought in Cody and helped mom prepare for her lesson on Sonny (who did very well for her, I must add - both did very great today, and in a dressage saddle nonetheless!). While she rode in her lesson, I took Cody out for some liberty work - we did all 7 games quickly, including the circling game at liberty (I actually got him to circle in close to me in either direction today), before returning to the arena. Poor guy was pretty stressed out though. I had initialy, after catching him, jogged him from his paddock to the barn, saddled him up, then taken him into the arena. Too much for the poor little guy - he was really nervous. Normally I work with him on the ground first before tacking him up, so he was pretty uptight to be saddled up first - I think it just made him wonder what was going on and what was going to happen to him. The liberty work helped though, and we rode around in the arena (doing nothing much, just some really basic stuff and transitions) for about 45 min, until the end of Mom's lesson. By the end, Cody felt relaxed-ish, so I was happy. I didn't feel the need to really work him, as he had done well and I didn't need to push him too far today. He felt really good today - he is always super sensitive and responsive, but it was so nice having him trot off when I simply "lifted my energy" (NO leg), and stopping when I "drained all my energy". It was pretty neat!

Sorry for the vent, but people can be frustrating at times!

Last but not least, I had to get Missy ready for some other individuals to see her: the lady trying her out was doing so for a friend, who is coming down on Wednesday to see Missy. I got Missy warmed up - she had a lot of impulsion but was not bending much or anything within the first 10 minutes (but I usually don't ask for much from her at all for the first 10-15min so she can just relax and warm up) but she did w/t/c (as well as jumping some jumps on the ground first, before riding). First thing Lady does before getting up into the saddle? She puts spurs on. Why? No idea. Missy had a ton of impulsion and I had a dressage whip to wave at her to get her to move off my leg (of course though I wasn't being as assertive in that respect yet because she'd only been working about 10 minutes so was still warming up). I let it be though, because I wanted her to give a good report back to her friend, who is the real one interested in Missy (she has a daughter in Pony Club). This woman used to be an eventer but was now into the dressage and this woman's ride was nothing like that of the dressage professionals that came out to see Missy awhile ago, the women who were clearly knowledgeable and classical-ly dressage based. This woman boasted to me how she works her horses hard and over short sessions: she used to do 20min sessions but now does 10 minutes of medium work. What horse can actually work, or, really, should be worked, hard, in 10 minutes?! Where is the respect for the horse?! It takes that long just to get warmed up! Of course, she (inadvertedly) showed me what those ten minutes look like (albeit a bit longer because she was trying out Missy): forcefully push horse into frame using spurs and hard hands? Check. I have to add that the frame she pushed Missy into was very artificial - Missy was behind the vertical much of the time, strung out behind for the most part, and working with her nose to her chest - hyperflexed - during some of the time. Push horse through every maneuver possible? Check. Kick horse with spurs when she doesn't understand/respond? Check. Pull back on reins at the canter in an effort to push horse into frame, thereby causing horse to think she should slow, which she does, then get kicked with spurs for? Check check. Pop mare in the head when she turns to have her face rubbed? Check. As terrible as I make it sound, it wasn't quite so bad. It was really just the normal horse world, from my experience in it. I felt bad for Missy, but I didn't want to say anything (and I was a little taken aback, I mean, the woman was checking her out as a Pony Club prospect!!). I would never let Missy go to a home like this, however she wasn't going home with this lady anyway. It wasn't abuse either, just not how I handle or work my horses - I did not feel it was fair or "nice" to Missy, but she wasn't really being "hurt" and our training was not going to digress with only one poor session. Missy bared with everything so well and tried so hard. On the other hand, I hope I made the right decision tonight in allowing this particular woman to continue riding Missy for as long as she did. I did feel pretty upset and pretty bad for Missy - that mare did so well today and didn't show any attitude whatsoever, despite being forced into a lot. I almost would have expected her to act out a little - and I would not have blamed her had she done so. Anyway. I think tomorrow will be a light day for her, just some moseying around and being spoiled. She deserves it after the last two days!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009


Well, for a week or so anyways, then I am off again. However so far I seem to be on a very productive roll ;) I spent an entire day driving yesterday - I left camp at 8am and did not arrive home until 2am. In between driving, I had to stop in at base and drop off (after fueling and washing) my work truck, trading it for my own truck... do a quick interview and sign all appropriate paperwork for a side-job... round up cattle and wait to help load... then, uh, more driving! In total, I spent a good solid 11 hours or so dedicated solely to driving. Phew!

I had hoped/planned to be home yesterday early enough that I could work both Link and Missy, but obviously that did not happen, thanks to work. I was up bright and early this morning though for my dressage lesson on Link. I have to admit, I really did have to - no lie, drag myself out of bed. After only 5 hours of sleep after a 19-hour day the previous day, the thought certainly did flit across my mind (*ahem* - briefly) to cancel my lesson. Link warmed up well and was fairly prepared for our lesson by the time our instructor arrived. He did very well today, though he had a ton of energy. We let him move out some (trot), just to burn off the edge, before asking him for bends, circles, and leg yields. No canter today, as he wouldn't have been able to handle it emotionally! He was not as responsive to me in general today because he was so focused on all that pent-up energy, however he was still pretty responsive (he just made me work a little harder today, lol) and did very well in general. He settled into a nice 'frame' where he was starting to round a bit and where he was hanging his head in a nice position. K, my instructor, called him a "cat" though because for a large part of our lesson, he just coiled up all his energy and became super elevated. It was hilarious and it felt like I was riding a spring ;) We actually got in quite a bit of sitting trot today though, which was fantastic for both of us. I am looking forward to working him tomorrow and Sunday prior to our lesson Monday! Best of all, he's actually developing some topline already.

I had to jet off afterward but returned awhile later to work Missy. By this time I was falling asleep, but I somehow resisted the urge to both sleep and become frustrated and grumpy (which tends to occur easily when I am that tired, lol). Missy actually had a ton of impulsion today, even playing around a little on the 12' line during our 7 games. I even had her play her squeeze game over a couple barrels I laid out; it took a few jumps in either direction before she found her rhythm, but once she did she was sailing over them with very nice form. Under-saddle she maintained that impulsion for the most part - I even let her blow off some steam just by trotting her out at first. We played some impulsion exercises as well, to both maintain and mold that impulsion into what we wanted. Afterward we worked more on bending and leg yields. A couple times she really surprised me by being really light. With every horse the key is to find what motivates them (in this case, as it pertains to lightness) and work with that. All horses respond to general "rewards" such as rest and a partnership with their rider, but some horses are motivated moreso than others in some areas. We worked on a lot of trot exercises; she was rounding and starting to balance herself quite well - our job now is just to balance the impulsion with the rest. For example, when I ask her to bend (outside rein, inside leg), she tends to slow, so the key will be to teach her to maintain her impulsion while doing all these exercises - responding to my leg, etc. Essentially, teaching her to multi-task. Strength - conditioning - will also play a role in this of course. Once we have that, I think her trot really will be all set and mostly balanced and rhythmic. We did do some leg yields today as well - while they were not all that rhythmic, she got the job done and was responsive. She's trying her best to learn and to figure out what it is I want, so I had to give her a lot of credit today - she tried really hard! Lastly, we tackled some canter. I have been neglecting her canter as of late as we focus on the trot, but she felt good enough under me today to work on some canter as well. She did excellent, picking up the canter in either direction, on the correct lead, and even balancing (mostly) herself on a 20m circle!! At first she did crossfire and pick up the incorrect leads, but I think it was partially (or even wholly) because of me. I have a tendency to sit forward when asking for the canter, which puts my weight right on the horse's forehand, and I was so stiff trying to keep her together (which really wasn't necessary, I would have accomplished much more had I just relaxed, lol) that I wasn't even positioning myself in such a way that would enable or encourage her to pick up the correct lead. Once I fixed myself, she cantered beautifully. So, a good day! I was pretty proud of the girl, because she had a lot of energy today and had not been worked in a good week and a half? Somewhere around there. She worked just as if she hadn't had a day off, perhaps even better ;) I will continue to work her every day I am home until I leave so that she has some consistency...I have people coming out to look at her both this weekend and next week, so she should be good and ready :)

As much as I wanted to work with Cody today, I still had a number of things to get done at home, was tired, and didn't want to pull him away from his hay (I know, excuses). So I settled for petting him and scratching his chin, which he seemed to enjoy anyway :)