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 :)

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