Friday, November 30, 2012

November Summary

Lots of good riding in November.  I rode 55 times.  Dawn and I had 19 rides, Pie and I had 19 rides and Red and I had 17 rides, 7 of which were walking rides only.

Dawn and Pie and I all made very good progress in our work this month.  Red had his soundness issues, but has been working well at the walk.

The most significant improvement Dawn and I made was being to get more consistent relaxation and softness, and also better/softer bend in corners and on circles.  Adding small circle work to our warm ups has been very beneficial for both of us.  Dawn's canter work is also much more consistent now.

Pie and I made big improvements this month.  Adding small circle work to our warm up has really helped, and my correcting my tendency to ride the bend the horse is doing rather than the bend I want - I particularly have to work on "riding right" and making sure my own right bend is there so I can offer it to him.  Pie's canter work made big strides this month - he can now consistently canter in the indoor, his corners are much better, he circles well rather than bulging out, his canter departures are coming along and the consistency of softness at the canter is increasing.  We also did more outdoor pasture riding for variety.

Red's rehab had what I hope is just a blip.  He was probably working too much, and on too many consecutive days, in the first half of the month, and got sore again, although not as bad as he'd been.  He had 4 days completely off, with some bute in the first few days, and then we've been walking under saddle, including some short pasture expeditions.  He was improved, but not 100%, when I lunged him the day after Thanksgiving, and when I lunged him today, he was significantly better - sound when trotting to the left and only slightly short-striding when trotting to the right.  We've also been doing some remedial in hand and leading work - he's a horse who's always testing boundaries, and tends to want to be mouthy, and I need to be very clear and consistent with him, while always offering him a soft spot to be, to make sure there's no erosion of his manners.  I also decided to give him another low-dose depo provera shot to help him with his "studiness" - hyperalertness and distractability as well as his pushing on boundaries.  He's a horse who benefits from working hard, and if he'd been in regular work the shot likely wouldn't have been needed.

Next week Red and I will continue our walking work under saddle, doing as much work as we can - poles, patterns, some obstacles and also some pasture walks.  We'll lunge again next Friday to see how he's coming, and we may also do some long-lining in the pastures for fun.  We won't be trotting under saddle until he's sound on the lunge first.  As long as he continues to improve, I'm not going to worry too much about it.

All three horses are consistently softer and more responsive at every moment, which is delightful.

All in all, it was a very good month with my three wonderful horses!

(P.S. - sorry for adding the "prove you're not a robot" word verification to comments - I was getting a huge amount of spam.  The only alternative was to eliminate anonymous comments, which I decided not to do as once in a while someone (real person rather than spammer) has to comment anonymously.)

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