Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Drift Progresses and Too Hot Today

Today it was just too hot to ride - the heat index is over 100 and the horses are dozing in their stalls under their fans.  I might hose them off with cold water later today.  We're expecting thunderstorms tonight, which should break the hot spell, and give the grass and plants a drink and improve the footing in the arena.  Yesterday I caught Pie sleeping, lying down in his stall, and he let me walk in and stroke him on the neck while he stayed there - very sweet.

Yesterday morning just before I put the horses in their stalls for the day, Drift and I squeezed in another good work session.  He seems somewhat less distracted since he's been on solo turnout.  His walk work - shortening and lengthening of stride off my seat, softening, and walk/halt/walk transitions and backing - are now consistently really nice.  We may start some lateral work shortly, both turns on the forehand and haunches, leading to sidepass, and also some leg yield and shoulder-in and haunches in.  And we're continuing our homework from the clinic - lots and lots of trotting, including trot/walk/trot transitions and also trot/halt/trot transitions, and lots of figures and changes of direction.  His softening is pretty much consistent at the trot now too, and yesterday for the first time he made no attempts to canter while trotting and even was able to give me some slight lengthening of stride without having his head pop up or trying to canter.  This means he's starting to carry himself from his hindquarters instead of periodically collapsing onto the forehand - he's built to use himself correctly but it takes practice and building core strength to do it under saddle with consistency. And we did some cantering too - all we're doing now is just cantering, on the correct lead (he still has more trouble with the right lead so we do a bit more of that), and just working on  developing his balance and rhythm through moving.  It was so hot by then that we didn't do a lot of cantering, and we both were pretty sweaty by the time we were done - he got a nice hose off and a bit of hand-grazing.

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