Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Riding catch up

We had a riding lesson on Friday morning.  It was a beautiful, perfect day and it really is quite nice to see your horse in daylight for once.  There was a lot of activity in the indoor which in a strange way seems to make Fawkes more comfortable.  I suppose he feels he is less likely to be eaten in the herd.

I wish there were more exciting things to report from the lesson but it was really just more of the same.   If I feel like a broken record, just imagine how my poor trainer feels.  Right shoulder back, keep a feel but not too much, don't let your foot slip forward too much.  Fawkes feels absolutely amazing to the left, with this big trot and soft.  The right takes a lot more work on my part, but the trot quality is much improved, and we are starting to get a little straighter and more responsive.

Crappy pic, but at least it shows his clip job

We worked on lines of poles up the center - which is very hard for us because it is a tight turn with minimal time to get straight - and poles/cross rails just off the rail. Coming off the rail and controlling his outside shoulder is still very difficult.  Apparently I was using too much outside leg, or more accurately Fawkes wasn't responding well to my outside leg so I was compensating by kicking him.  My trainer told me to just use outside rein to straighten and the inevitable happened, Fawkes just drifted back to the rail.  So then we worked on maintaining light inside rein contact while straightening outside aids.  Again, my horse has a very narrow threshold.

However!  There is a big positive.  There have been great strides in the ability to straighten while going through the poles or between jumps.  So much so I over straightened him and made him crooked in the other direction.  I am counting that as a win.  And he continued his happy, bold, relaxed jumping.  Consistency and calm is a wonderful thing.

Foster Gizmo got groomed!!  So flipping cute and starts interviewing prospective
families this week.

Sunday I watched R2 ride Fawkes which was good but kind of a bummer because the temperature was plummeting.  It was 49 when I got the barn and 22 when I left 2.5 hours later.  Fawkes was very stuck for her, presumably because he was cold and slow to warm up.  So in a reversal of what I usually get, he was not great on the flat but was excellent over fences for her.  I am glad I was able to watch because it is nice to see that it isn't just me (he can be difficult for even a pro) and also how he is coming along.

Last night was intended to be a quiet hack for us, unfortunately we had an exceptionally spooky ride.  It started poorly when I was leading him inside and somewhere nearby a puppy was squeaking a ball.  The horror.  Then, when we were trotting around, someone walked past the indoor entrance to dump a pitchfork of manure.  Medium level spook ensued.  As we were recovering from that, a cat jumped up onto the wall.  Another medium spook then just tense critter being tense.  The rest of the ride became a game of  "Find Fawkes' Brain."  Transitions, circles, bending, not letting him look around for things to react to. Once he eventually settled back to a nice relaxed trot I let him be done.

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