I’m hand-grazing Gigi for a bit. She’s still on stall rest but her leg seems to be doing well!
Gypsy got turned out with Franny (Suzie’s little twin) today! They get along great and I think that they’re both happy to have a buddy to play with out in the mud.
Gigi all tucked in for the night!
For some reason, I was dragging a little bit today. I think that it was a combination of being tired and worried about Gigi. Not that there’s anything to worry about; she’s sound and her leg is healing well. I think it’s just stressful not being able to ride her when we’re entered in a show that’s coming right up, and puncture wounds on lower legs aren’t anything to be too dismissive about. Gigi got her leg cold-hosed and iced today, and I lunged her a bit in each direction at the walk, trot, and canter to see how sound she looked. She was moving pretty well, so that’s good.
Gypsy was the only horse I rode today, and we took part in a horsemanship class. My trainer teaches these group lessons on weekends and today was an unusually small class with only four of us in it. My mom rode Suzie, and they both did really great. I thought that it was a good experience for Gypsy to take part in a group ride where the focus wasn’t on the usual things that we’re working on (though, of course, things like bending and correct transitions and throughness can be worked on no matter what we’re doing). We did a lot of work on having all of the riders feel for their diagonals instead of looking down, something that’s always good to return to practicing, and we also did some transitions. Gypsy behaved well for the most part, but she did kick out at my leg a bit. We think that maybe she was sore from yesterday’s ride, in which I did a lot of trot and canter with her.
The rest of the day was consumed with chores and, my pet project of the week, cleaning and organizing the tack room and its contents. It was a bit of a long day, but I made it home in time for a pre-Father’s Day breakfast for dinner extravaganza. It’s always refreshing to come home for a bit and I feel ready to tackle everything again tomorrow!
We were efficient today and probably would have ended early if not for evening chores. I iced Gigi’s leg first thing this morning. It isn’t infected, and everyone says that it looks good, so I’m not sure why I’m worries about her. Hopefully the swelling will go down soon. I lunged DJ in side reins next; he got a light day because his back was sore yesterday. I think the plan is to give him tomorrow off and then he’ll go back to work on Sunday.
Two-year-old Brenton was next on the list, and we actually backed him today! My trainer had lunged him and done some groundwork with him while I was lunging DJ. Then she had me lean on the stirrups and then hang over his back on each side. He was super about it all, so I ended up getting on him and my trainer lead us around at the walk for a bit. Brenton was a superstar! He reminds me of Gigi in how quiet he is, and my trainer says that his mother, Faith, was just as easy to start.
I rode Lacey next and worked on the same things as yesterday: sharp transitions and leg-yields. We did a lot of lateral work at the walk to warm up and I think it really helped. So did making sure that Lacey was really working her hind end and engaging without throwing her haunches or shoulders and becoming crooked. At the end of our ride, I got the best stretchy trot out of her that I think she’s ever given me!
I rode Gypsy next and our ride started out with a discussion about walk-halt transitions. She likes to slam on the breaks with her head thrown as high in the air as it will go. I would like her to remain soft and round in the transition. It took some convincing (lots of leg-yielding into the transitions) and patience, but Gypsy’s transitions improved a lot! The rest of the ride was good in that Gypsy was accepting more contact and bending better. She still likes to buck instead of pick up the right lead canter, and she’ll give a little kick out when she thinks that I’m asking for something too difficult. However, I see it as a sign of progress, and each time we work through a rough patch, she comes out feeling much better! We also did a lot of trotting and cantering today which is good for her fitness.
Suzie was my last ride of the day and she was awesome. I rode her in the double again and we schooled a lot of the same exercises we’ve been working on. We started with transitions and half-transitions, and I required that she be exactly on my aids and straight. We also did a lot of lateral work on 15-meter circles at the trot and also at the canter; that was more difficult for her! We ended with some counter-canter and flying changes. I’m really excited about how Suzie is rising to the occasion and doing so well!
The rest of the day was consumed with hand-walking Beowulff, caring for Gigi’s leg, and doing chores. It was a great day and I’m hoping that tomorrow will be fun too!
It rained and rained and rained today. It was impossible to avoid getting soaked, and we has the barns pretty much full of drying horses all day! I started the day by icing Gigi’s leg. It’s still swollen but not terribly so, and I really hope that it’s getting better. I left her unwrapped for the day so that the puncture wound could drain and get some air, and I iced and cold-hosed her leg two more times before the day was over. I’m still hoping that she’ll be sound for the show she’s entered in; it’s the weekend after this coming one. My trainer told me that the show barely has any entries, though, so hopefully it won’t be cancelled or anything!
Lacey was my first ride of the day and we focused on sharpening her up to the aids. That meant lots of transitions and changes of direction. I was happy with how her responsiveness improved over the course of the ride, but I didn’t like how resistant she was to using her right hind. We ended up doing lots of leg-yields and haunches-in to the left so that she had to really step under herself with that stiff hind leg.
I rode Suzie next since DJ was feeling a bit backsore in the chilly rain. Suzie was super! My trainer is having me ride her in a double bridle for a bit, and when we had a lesson two days ago, Suzie through some temper tantrums about our new high standards for her work. Today, however, she was more settled but quite responsive. We did a lot of transitions within the trot, from collected to medium, and later within the canter. These really put her on my aids! We also schooled a lot of lateral work on 15-meter circles. I kept alternating between shoulder-in, renders, and travers in both directions, always on a circle. It really forced Suzie to be supple and focused and I was impressed with how well she did! I’ve become increasingly aware of how cool, and how precious, it is to have a horse that is entirely customized to your aids. I can’t get the quality of work that is easy to achieve on Suzie on any other horse, even ones who are trained to a higher level. Suzie is so responsive to my every request, and we are always communicating effectively, even when we’re in disagreement about something! I guess that riding lots of different horses makes me appreciate what Suzie and I have.
After I rode her, it was Gypsy’s turn. We need to work on her right lead canter since it’s difficult for her to pick up. I’d also like to keep working on her leg-yields and overall suppleness; that will help with her transitions and smoothness of steering! We got some video of her for her sales ad, and the I videoed my trainer on Accolade. She’s going well under saddle now and is learning to steer and accept contact.
I ended the day by working with two of my trainer’s two-year-olds: Brenton and Beowulff, Gigi’s half-brothers. I lunged Brenton for a bit in a lightweight jumping saddle and then I hand-walked Beowulff. He was just gelded this week! After the babies were tucked back into their stalls, I spent some time indulging my OCD tendencies by organizing and labeling things in the tack room. Then it was grilled steak and spinach salad for dinner, and some time relaxing in bed and reading!
Gypsy was a good girl today! We took some video of her for her sales ad, just walk/trot/canter in each direction. Then I schooled her a bit more. We worked on circles and leg yields; she’s still figuring out the latter, but getting better every day!
It seems like me day off was the only nice day of the week! I’m at the Dunkin Donuts drive-through and it’s raining again. I’ve already gone through one pair of rain boots. Hopefully this pair will last longer! I’m looking forward to riding today. We have some of the young horses back on the schedule and I’m also excited to see what Suzie thinks of her new third level boot camp regime!
Gigi’s not thrilled that I took her away from her breakfast to ice her leg first thing this morning. I’m hoping to have time to do it twice today. Also, I really have to figure out how I’m going to braid that section of mohawk mane that her blanket rubbed off last winter…
My morning in photos! I started with a caramel mocha iced coffee, did my rounds of checking all of the horses in their stalls and turnouts, and gave everyone their breakfast hay. Then it was chores: mucking stalls and cleaning bridles!
I had a bunch of super rides today! It was rainy and chilly, so some of the horses were a little bit spooky. DJ was my first ride of the day, and I could tell that he was wired when I got on. Honestly, I think he’s the most chronically and unfixably spooky horse I’ve ever worked with, but I adore him. He’s the kind of horse who will go by an immobile, inanimate object 20 times and then react to it in terror the 21st time. However, I feel like I’ve figured him out and we’ve reached an agreement. He’s a very clever horse with a very soft mouth, and he doesn’t spook to be bad. I don’t think he can help it. If I always sit deep, soft, and loose and if I never catch him in the mouth or muscle him around (but insist that he always stay round and not look for scary things) then he does super work. I practiced a lot of first and second level movements from the tests I was memorizing prior to the show on DJ and he does them all with aplomb.
Lacey was also super today! I don’t think that she was as perfectly, consistently round and connected as she could have been, but that was because I think I was challenging her today…in a good way! We did a lot of work off the rail so that she really had to be connected to my outside aids. I felt like her hind end was really working and that she was reaching for the contact and really starting to give me her back. One of the exercises we worked on was turning to trot across the long diagonal and then, as soon as Lacey straightened, turning onto a 10- or 15-meter circle so that she had to stay balanced, bending, and on my aids. We also worked at the canter on thoroughness and balance on circles around the ring and on doing nice upward transitions.
Suzie and Gypsy were my last rides of the day, and I was only on Suzie for a few minutes. My mom was riding her today, and so I got on her first to make sure that she was settled and willing to listen (and not spook at the hay down at the far side of the ring). She was a little bit tense but, as I do with any spooky horse, I didn’t feed into her fears and just did a lot of forward but soft circles at the trot and canter down by the scary hay. If she wanted to do a double take or a little spook, I just kept my seat still and my leg on and she seemed to work out of it well. I didn’t take note of much of my mom’s ride since I was on Gypsy at the time, but she said that Suzie felt fantastic which I’m so happy about!
Gypsy was also a really good girl today. We started on the lunge line so that I could see how she’s moving and also to see if I could get her to canter. She’s very stuck on the right lead under saddle and will buck instead of picking it up. The left lead, however, is much easier for her! She’s a bit uneven in her pelvis and is still gaining fitness, so at this point I think it’s a balance and strength thing; she could canter on both leads on the lunge, but balancing a rider is perhaps a different story. She was also a bit looky at the hay, but otherwise did very nice trot work. Her leg yields are coming along, and she’s really starting to accept more of a correct contact. Before, she’d tuck into an artificial swan-neck frame or brace and put her head up. Now, I feel like she’s much softer and more willing to think about stretching down and forward!
Hopefully my rides tomorrow will be just as good, and hopefully it will stop raining!
Gigi modeling the ice boot today. She got a puncture wound on her lower leg the morning we left for the show. It was a bit swollen when I unwrapped her leg today, but 20 minutes of icing brought it back down to normal! She’s almost sound but not quite. Fingers crossed that she’s mended and back to work in time to go to the show I’ve entered her in in just under two weeks!