Friday, December 20, 2013

Mia introduces her sassy side

The horses are doing really well, the dental visit has done wonders for the TWH.  He went from wasting about half of the hay despite a slow feed hay bag back to being my Hoover.  From being able to feel ribs when you press through his fat to now solidly being unable to know he even has ribs.  Mia has become quieter in the bridle and she has continued to put weight on, I think I will have another easy keeper once she is where she needs to be.  The App is having his typical hard time acclimating to winter but after supplementing with some rice bran he is almost where I want him and he is really easy to keep once he "gets there".  Weird old horses and their weird quirks.  He can be/was super fat in the summer.  Fall came he was fine, cold hit and he just drops the weight despite the additional hay and doubling of grain.  Sept/Oct/Nov for the past 4 years are spent re-packing pounds on and then he is always fine all winter.  Go figure.  Speaking of winter, what happened to the slow winters like I have been having the past few years?  I've actually had time to ride several times in the past couple of weeks. With giving lessons and other things going on though, I just haven't been riding much as I wanted.   "Several times" does not equal 3-4 times a week which is what I need.

On Sunday, though, I finally found time to ride the horses! I rode Mia first, our goals have been pretty simple.  We've been working on trying on maintaining contact while balancing while steering and also playing with the canter.  She has been doing really well and now that we have steering most of the time, it is time to focus on the canter.  I should have taken things as an omen when I started tacking up, Mia was pawing in the cross ties.  Bad mare!  No pawing, not going to let you start that bad habit.  I hadn't ridden her since Wednesday and they hadn't ran much due to the really bad weather, good thing she is so chill right?  I got her ready and made the decision to ride the fence line to make sure nothing big was on it after the 5+ inches of snow.  I brought her into the main pasture and hopped on, it sure was windy but it wasn't a big deal.  We started walking and we hadn't even made it to the treeline when I felt a big hitch.  What was that, did she just kick?? I booted her around in a circle felt it again.  Yes, that was definitely a kick.  I put her nose to my knee and made her circle 5-6 times before letting her go, under no circumstances is that behavior allowed!

We walked on and while she was very up and alert, our ride was fairly uneventful.  We made it to the second corner and I had to correct her speed only once.  She had a pretty decent spook at a huge deer that leapt over the fence but thankfully it was a spook that was mostly in place.  I much prefer those kinds of spooks!  After that she was even more up and alert when we made it to the third corner and started to home.  About a third of the way there, I felt it again.  That was definitely either a kick or a buck.  Before I could do anything about it, she gave a couple crow hops just to make her point.  BAD MARE!  I yelled at her and put her nose to my knee again and kept kicking her until she had spun at least 10 circles, it was enough I was getting a little dizzy!  She was eager to go while we walked off but we were successful in walking back to the arena without incident.  Once there I put her on the lunge line and pushed her out, if she had steam to blow let her blow it without me on her in the middle of a field full of stumps and limbs!  She volunteered the trot very quickly and took very little encouragement to go into a canter.  I held her in the canter about 3x longer than normal, however and after she was starting to lose her breath, I switched direction and did it all over again.  All in all, I only lunged her for about 10 minutes and the look on her face when I hopped on instead of letting her be done was priceless.  She seemed genuinely surprised I wasn't giving her rest like I normally do when she works.  Haha, bad mares don't get rest!

The arena part of the ride went really well, Mia is steering very well now and is even keeping her shoulders up through corners 90% of the time.  If she does drop one, it is her right shoulder as she turns left.  We even got the canter and I have to say, if it was her being tired or her getting more balanced, that was the best canter she had ever given me.  It was fairly slow and fairly balanced instead of plowing along at mach 1 as she tries to keep me between her and the ground.  Quite impressive!  After a good 40 minute ride we called it quits and she got to walk under the cooler for a good 10 minutes or so.  Plenty of treats afterwards seemed to have fixed any bad feelings, however, as all seemed forgiven as I put her away.

The ride on the TWH was uneventful, I am working on getting him fit again and getting him to work in a shorter frame, especially in the trot and canter.  We are progressing but it will take a little time.  This week has been a complete failure for riding but I am really hopeful next week will have plenty of riding time as I have the week off.  Let's see what I can get done.

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