Things are par for the course. Last week I only got to ride twice due to the in-laws being in town, woohoo? Mia is actually being really good, not great but she isn't fit so I don't expect great. I have been working on contact and basic fitness for both her and I and it is coming back, slowly. On Friday the in-laws came out to the barn with SO and I and I did some fitness work. 8 minutes of two point from Twopointober? Fat chance! HAHA!! It will come back, I hit 3 minutes and that was good enough for me. Take aways? Since, you know, I should be documenting my rides? Mia needs to relax over her topline again and soften her poll. She needs to keep some bend and contact in the outside rein without my forcing the issue at the start of each ride. She needs to move bigger, not faster.
The good? Mia is doing very well in steering with just my seatbones (When did that start happening?!). Mia is staying adjustable in her trot and, when sufficiently warmed up, can go from a working trot to an extended trot to an almost western trot almost exclusively from seat and legs. Her canter is going wonderfully as long as I sit up and BACK. She can't keep a nice, balanced canter for too long, just a circle or so, but that is so much better than the dumping on the forehand, going fast and ignoring my suggestions which is her go-to. Her canter is by far her weakest gait so any improvement is appreciated.
Speaking of appreciated, the new farrier trimmed my appys on the 17th. He wasn't able to do much since it had been only 5 weeks since their previous trim, but I had to do what I had to do to get on his schedule. I felt so much better after his trim, I had zero desire to "fix" anything he did. Maybe I finally found a good farrier here?! He said that their heels were still way too high, something I had been trying and trying to get the previous farrier to fix. Even with my "direction", old farrier wasn't taking them down enough. New farrier said that by taking all of the toe and leaving the heel, the angles are wrong and pointed out bruises on Apps soles from just standing around.
When both horses walked off, they even sounded better as they walked down the aisleway. It has transitioned into the arena as well, the first night I rode Mia, she felt WAY different. The arena was half frozen so I couldn't fully evaluate her gait but the second time, wow. She is really moving out and isn't nearly as stiff behind. Even another boarder noticed a difference in her gait. I am discouraged that we spent most of last year with poor hooves, but I suspected it was happening and couldn't do much to fix it as the old farrier does ALL of the horses at the barn. It wasn't until the new boarder came with her own farrier that I felt "okay" using a different/her farrier. And now I am being avoided by the old farrier. Go figure, politics. My horses' well-being is more important than how the farrier views me, and the barn isn't upset because I am still using a farrier they approved to come into the barn. Weird, yes, but such is boarding. Apparently they allow only "approved" farriers. I am just glad I found this second option.
On Christmas, I went to the barn and just did some w/t on Mia bareback with a halter. She was a little more spirited than I would have preferred, so I didn't do any canter, but she behaved well enough. I did notice I was not as secure in my seat as I should be, looks like more bareback riding is in my future again. I used a saddle in most of No Stirrup November, apparently that wasn't good enough for my balance so Saddleless January is going to make an introduction. Haha! Monday I tried to go to the barn, I really did, but everything was covered in ice. Living on a mountain does have some downsides, when going 10mph down the road is still too fast and people are sliding, perhaps one needs to stay home. After going about a mile towards the barn, I turned around and went home. Not worth a car wreck to just play with the horses.
Last night I went out and rode sans saddle and felt soooo much better and secure. I can only guess the ride where I kept trying to fall off woke my brain up and now it "remembers" how to balance lol. We did some w/t/c and I am very pleased with how it went. We even got some laterals in, after we picked up Mr Spanky. Funny how Mr Spanky never had to be used, just picking it up was enough to get Mia off of my leg. Ha! More bareback riding tonight, I figure at least 10 rides should be done before I deserve a saddle again. That should show my no good, lazy body how to remember to balance properly.