Friday, March 16, 2012

Something is in the Air

There was definitely something in the air this morning.
It was one of those crisp fresh days that sort of makes you think of fall and worry that a cold snap is coming with the kind of wind that doesn't chill as much as rejuvenate a person. Evidently my horses had a similar feeling...
First thing I heard as I waltzed into the barn lugging two saddles, a helmet and my tall boots while trying not to loose a rubber boot in the ankle deep mud that covers the parking lot was "Your horses are being jerks!"

Oh yes, it's going to be a good day. I look through the bars and sure enough, two of the eight horses in side are rearing and squealing and pawing impatiently to go outside to their tiny paddocks and breakfast hay. So I did my part and led a prancing Delight outside, passageing down the barn aisle, tail in the air and neck arched elegantly. Of course once I unhaltered her in her little pen, she sedately meandered over to her hay pile and started chowing down.
Next up, RC.  How bad can he possibly be?
As soon as I opened the stall door he tried to burst out... and was quickly rebuffed. That is one of the things I quite like about this horse, for all of the dumb antics he tries to pull, all it takes is a firm word and he's back to being Mr. Golden Boy. No follow through on those exuberant moments. After his rebuke, RC was equally happy to go outside but kept his enthusiasm withing tolerable bounds, which means that he jog-trotted showmanship style next to me with his ears locked forward and eyes just a little bit too wide. He was the perfect gentleman as I unhalterd him and I loitered, expecting to watch him meander over to his hay.

Of course, nothing ever goes quite as planned.
RC did jog over to his hay pile before his enthusiasm for the day and being able to go outside sans blanket overcame him. He leaped straight up in the air, bronco style, and gave a few little bucks in a circle. He then rocketed around his little pen, trying to encourage the other horses turned out on either side of him to join in his silly little game with little rears (ok, 'rear' is a very strong term for what RC does... more of a 'lightening of the forehand').  Of course none of the other horses really want to be associated with poor RC, but he was just as happy to be playing by himself. At times like this, I wish I had a camera.

Because RC had a grueling workout yesterday (we gave an impromptu Dressage Demo before the drill team practice), he got a carrot and a day off which just left the ponies.
Delight was eating, so Tilly got called on first. Tiilly was quite pleasant this morning; none of that cranky pony girthyness or impatient pony shifting around while I tried to tack her up. Then I got on her.
Turns out that Delight and RC weren't the only two horses who were feeling their oats this morning. I spent the first ten minutes of my ride trying to convince her that it was, in fact, possible to trot in a straight ling and bend around corners without breaking into the canter. I know, we've been working on cantering under saddle, but the pony's version of cantering off was not really the same as I wanted to practice. Her version was slightly less in control....
40 minutes later, I had a great ride. We settled down and got our trot on the bit with bend! to both directions! And our canter even got a little bend and some semblance of my being in control... at all. Count t as a win.

Then it was Deli's turn. I was inspired by Klimke's cavelletti book (spare time and lots of reference books can be a bad thing) which recommended jumping or working over ground poles to keep young horses interested in their work.So, I set up two sets of raised ground poles in sets of three just off the inside track through the two 'scary' corners of the arena and a 14" cavalletti at X so that I could go over it when changing directions between E and B. Delight LOVES the jumping. She was unimpressed by the ground poles, but cantering over the 14" one really sparked her interest. Downside is that she got a little excited and started swinging her haunches in again... so back to the leg yield to half pass and shoulder ins....
I guess I'll be trying this exercise again sometime in the future.

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