Thursday, May 4, 2017

Easter Break Ride Recap (Long Post - 4 Days Worth!)

This is a recap of my riding on my Easter Break (so that's Thursday through Monday!) It's a long post, but there is plenty to keep you interested if you have the time. Enjoy!

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(I had already posted Thursday but decided to repost it with all the other days instead of making seperate posts.)
Last week I had my last break of the school year for Easter, a 5 day weekend. I rode 3 days of the break and went to the barn for another day to watch and take pictures of my dad and Beau. It was certainly an interesting weekend!

Gotta rep for South Farm
My ride on Thursday was all about gaining confidence again, as I hadn't ridden in quite a while. We rode inside, as it was off and on raining and chillier than I wanted.

As I was grooming him, he was kicking the tack stall walls, pawing and generally misbehaving, so I decided to take him down to the indoor arena and lunge him to get all his wiggles out. On the way down he went full racehorse mode, jogging beside me and spooking at random times. Once I got him down to the arena, I had barely clipped on the lunge line when he exploded out away from me (thankfully he knows better than to run towards me). I let him run around for a while until he calmed down. 

I opened the door to take him back up to tack up and guess who decided to spook again? My lovely idiot. At least I think I figured out what was making him grumpy, as there was a water spout that was going full blast on side of the barn. I let him graze as I turned it off to turn it into a good experience, then took him back to tack up!

Before I tacked, I borrowed a drill from the guy who was working on the water pipes to desensitize Beau, who did well with it (I just let him smell it and let him get accustomed to the sound). After I walked him back down to the arena, I lunged him again (he did well) and popped on.

Our ride was all about letting me get confident on his crazy butt again, which means I did a lot of walking, serpentines, and bending. After I was comfortable at the walk (probably about 15-20 minutes), I took him up to the trot, did a bunch of bending and serpentines, and discovered that he was going very well! I finished with a very small amount of nice canter and was happy with that!

I also popped out to the tack store near us to pick up tack cleaner, sponges, and a lunge line. Our lunge line had apparently snapped (how??), and I like having a colorful, cotton lunge line that I can see in the arena dust. Our tack was disgusting, as I hadn't cleaned it in months so I needed some sponges to do that and I spotted the Lexol 3-in-1, which I wanted to try (let me know if you want a review!). 

Friday was a fun day for us! It was a beautiful day outside, and I decided that we needed to ride in the outdoor. It was our second ride outside this year, and as our first ride was the one where Beau dumped me, I wasn't feeling the most confident about it.

s p a r k l e
I was determined to make this a great ride, so I put everything I had into keeping relaxed and keeping him relaxed. I popped him on the lunge line, and he was barely moving (aka he was chill).

I hopped on and spent a good amount of time warming him up, walking him around the entire ring, especially the area where he spooked the last time. After I knew he didn't care about the things outside the ring, I pushed him up into the trot. My focus at the trot was to keep him in front of my leg and bending. He was annoyingly wobbly (or I was overcorrecting, who knows?), but he listened well and we ended with a pretty good trot.

As we were working on the trot, another horse left the ring, which I was worried about, as he used to care a lot about that, but he actually did really well and continued paying attention. I kept working on the trot, doing lots of circles and big serpentines. My plan for this ride was to keep him 1) paying attention, 2) in front of my leg, and 3) bending and stretching. I was so proud as he did all three, really well.

Throwback (dat giraffe face, tho)
To work on the canter, I knew I wanted to work on the right side first, as that is his hard side, so I like to kind of "get it out of the way" first. Surprisingly, his right lead canter was absolutely perfect. It was quiet and bending, but also forward in front of my leg (but not running). I flipped directions, established a good trot (because he tends to go straight to the canter once I switch directions), and asked for the canter. He gave me a very vertical moving canter and threw in some crow hops for fun, but once I pushed him forward, he gave me his normal soft, forward moving canter.

I ended my canter work and walked him out for half a lap before hopping off and unsaddling him to get back on bareback to cool him out. I haven't ridden bareback in a while and he is definitely much more couch and much less giant spine!

This ride was weird because everything I got was the opposite of what I expected. I expected his right canter to be worse than his left, nope. I expected him to react to the horse leaving, nope. I expected him to have some "spring fever," nope.

It just goes to show that you can't expect anything with horses, and that adaptability is important in working with them.

Saturday was actually my dad's day to ride. He hadn't ridden all week either (much thanks to our leaser for keeping Beau from going stir-crazy), so he was due. So, I grabbed my camera and prepped to play the part of the daughter-groom.

Beau say the least.

He doesn't look crazy, does he?
Dad started off by lunging Beau. I thought he looked fine and pretty quiet, but apparently, Dad saw something I didn't and kept lunging. Beau did get a teeny bit frisky, but nothing compared to what I've seen before. He said he wasn't paying attention and listening.

Dad was right. He hopped on, and Beau was good at the walk but very "look-y" at everything in the indoor (it was supposed to rain). As soon as he went up to the trot, Beau was in the "ooh-look-at-me-I-can-still-go-fast" stage. He wasn't being bad, per say, just fast. Fast equals hard to get to go forward (forward is not the same as speed), hard to bend, and generally hard to work with.

Dad worked with Beau on serpentines, circles, changes of bend, figure eights, lateral work; basically, anything to get Beau's feet moving and his mind thinking. His trot calmed down a tiny bit. Dad asked Beau for the canter, and although it was also quite fast, it was (mostly) controllable. In the canter, Dad also focused on bending and controlling his feet and hind end.

Baby jump, big hops!
Once that was controllable, they moved to jumping. Starting over a cross-rail, the goal of jumping was to stay controlled. They then moved on to a low 18" vertical line, getting it in a tight four strides or a long 3 strides (I think), a rolltop around 2'-2'3" and a white gate around 2'. There were plenty of circles between jumps. Once they had those jumps down, I put the line up to about 2'9, a pole over the rolltop to make it about 2'6-2'9, and turned the cross rail into a 2'6-2'9 vertical. They spent a while on the course, and then ended by working on getting good striding for the line.

Ughh blurry, but major hops!
My Bubba is such a cutie!
They finished with some walking, a rinse off, and a walk up and down the driveway, our preferred way to dry him off after a rinse. He got plenty of treats and turned out, where he promptly ran around and bucked and played in the field. Crazy, but happy!

Easter - no riding!

Monday was not the day I was expecting. I really wanted to jump, as I hadn't in months, but, alas, it was not meant to be.

He must lick my hand at all times.
When I got to the barn, Beau's ridiculously cute face was waiting in the pasture for me. I brought him in, and he was in a great mood, quiet but not sleepy (because that's a sign that he's crazy). When I groom him, I pretty much always do a check on his legs, because I'm a worrywart horse mom and because it's good to do. I found a bump about the size of a quarter, hard but not hot.

I grabbed one of the awesome people who's always at the barn to get her opinion. At first she thought it was a suspensory (kill me now), but eventually, we both agreed it was a splint. I trotted him out and he wasn't lame so I continued tacking up to ride. Of course, there was no way I was going to jump him on it, so I was kinda annoyed at this point, but determined to have a good ride.

Bump = splint
Our ride was actually pretty fantastic. He was quiet and behaving, bending when I asked him to, which is always good. We did a half hour ride at the walk and trot, working mainly on my position since I didn't want to push him too much, which I don't do too often. I worked on the sitting trot, my diagonals (because I have a problem), and just generally trying to polish up my equitation. I tried to canter him, but he only went vertical (not rearing, just doing his weird not moving forward canter). Normally, I would have pushed him forward, but I wasn't sure if he was just being rude or in pain so I let him be. We cooled out and I put him away to chill out in his stall.

Old pic but still cute
Texting my vet and dad confirmed that it was 99.9% definitely a splint. Of course, at this point, I had to go pack to get to the airport on time for my evening flight back to school. Nothing like knowing your baby is hurt and having to go 300 miles away. He's doing great though. We're getting an x-ray to see how serious it is, but he's sound to keep working on the flat.

Enjoy riding, smile, and have fun!


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