Thursday, April 23, 2015

bath time (& the unhappiest horse in the world)

And I also rode my horse!!!!!! Yay!!!! It's actually been a fairly eventful few days (if boring legging-up type stuff can be considered eventful haha) so just catching up here. 

she's trying to tell me that bath time is literally KILLING her. i don't buy it haha

I tried another long lining session, this time unsupervised. We maybe struggled more with tension and didn't achieve as much relaxation... but in talking it over with N she thinks it only seemed worse bc I held the lines the whole time and experienced the full spectrum. Plus the tension we're working with didn't exactly crop up over night, so I shouldn't expect it to work out immediately either. It's going to take time. 

That was encouraging to hear bc I actually kind of felt bummed about it. My current plan is to aim for weekly long lining sessions - and that they might be particularly good either right before or right after any intense dressage rides. 

foggy camera lens makes isabel look 'ethereal' instead of like a drowned rat lol

Saturday afternoon I went to see Isabel after my OF lesson (where I went xc schooling with Peanut and had ALL THE FUN). It was finally time for our first ride since Isabel's cough-tastic lesson and subsequent flu quarantine. My initial plan was to keep it at an easy peasy loose rein walk, and just focus on me and my own position while Isabel moved on along.

'dis what i think of your plan' - isabel

That got tossed out the window when Isabel reverted to her previous self - the way she went when I first met her. She felt like a stick of dynamite and was drawn like a magnet to the gate. And if we were going away from the gate her nose was pointed out over the fence looking distractedly back at the barn and pastures. 

So I opted to mix a little 'work' into the plan: after every lap or two, pick the reins up and ask her to walk properly into the contact. Upon achieving this, ask for a trot that was expected to be equally nice, and carry it for a small circle before going back to a long loose walk for another lap or two. 

Isabel wanted to RUN haha. Upon picking up the reins she'd start gunning it, thinking contact = go fast. We'd work through it, find that nice walk, go into trot and *poof* my contact would evaporate into a face full of ears. It only took about a half circle to fix that tho, then one full circle of a nice trot, then walk again. And the 'drama' faded with each iteration until she was transitioning verrrrry nicely. Like, 'at the top of our game' nicely.


Her trot work was pretty bangin too, if I may say so. It was perhaps a little *too* forward, but the contact was just BAM, right there. And she felt round and really pushing. Maybe the long lining is really helping to loosen up her back, even if it's not obvious while we're doing it? In any case, I was super happy with her. 



By the end of the ride we trotted a full lap of the arena, across the diagonal, and half another lap before coming back to walk. She never coughed, but was definitely breathing a bit heavily and already kinda sweaty. We were at it for maybe 40 min, tho it was also the warmest day of the year yet - hitting 80F.


So obviously we had to capitalize on the weather and have fun with bath time!! Poor Isabel... Have I mentioned how much she dislikes water? Baths.... are not her favorite. At all. She really acted like the water from the hose was killing her lol. I tried to make quick work of it, tho she needed it badly - her coat looked shiny and fine, but had become greasy to the touch. Ew haha. 


And of course she got to do lots of grazing afterwards - and actually ended up rolling on the grass, which I suppose is preferable to out in her dirt field. She shocked the pants off me tho: she actually rolled all the way over, something I've never seen her do, plus she was rolling UP the hill when she did it. Wow. I guess she's feeling pretty good and limber haha. 


i see a trail ride in our future

Ride 2 on Sunday went along much of the same lines. We added more trot - doing a few sets of a couple laps at a time, and more frequent walk-trot-walk transitions. Isabel was a bit calmer and quicker to get to work, which made me happy. Even better, tho: she was still moving really well and settled in to the contact super easily. Good mare!

Still no coughing, even with lots of deep breathing. So I'm feeling more and more confident that she'll spring back without issue. Fingers crossed!

20 comments:

  1. Sounds like she'll be back into regular work in no time! Love her sticking out tongue pic--she's so adorable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha she's mighty expressive, that's for sure :)

      Delete
  2. Sounds like she's just SO excited to be out again ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. eh she might have been fine with being a pasture puff for the rest of her life... but i think she kinda likes going out and doing stuff too :)

      Delete
  3. Sleek and shiny mare! It might be bath day this weekend for us too if the weather gets warmer (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's crazy bc she's still shedding SO MUCH! for a horse that barely had a winter coat it's kinda shocking - almost like she's shedding more now than she was before the bath haha

      Delete
  4. Sounds like she's ready to go! Fingers crossed, you've filled up your quota of sick pony for a very long time:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad there's no sign of the cough again!
    It sounds like you were super patient with her running - good job, how awesome that she seems to be finding that contact easier and feeling so good!

    I once had a horse who hated water too! Bath times had to be super quick and he would ALWAYS roll frantically afterwards!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. she's a funny mare - she'll try to convince you that she's wild and crazy, and maybe draw the rider into a tug of war... but if you just ride it out and keep asking it turns out she's actually pretty obedient. (except bath time... haha)

      Delete
  6. She knows that over 1,000 chestnut arabians die during bath time every year. Science.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yay for her getting back at it!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. she's a liar! she seemed to feel fabulous after the bath!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yay! Love those rolling pics - so cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol she took us all by surprise - even the horses in the ring... but better grass than mud :)

      Delete