I devoted an entire hour to just suppleness over the topline. Bending and transitions and relaxation. It went really well.
I was short horses since I took two hunting earlier in the day for the MLK Jr. Day hunt, so I put Magee on Annie for a lesson. It was a great experience for Magee, because Annie wasn’t going to go round unless Magee started riding with her leg and focused on quieter hands. It started out quite ugly actually, but improved a lot, and by the end Annie was going admirably and Magee was having all sorts of “Aha” moments. I learned just exactly how much more work there is to do, but always good to know.
Hunted at the Cumberland country on a grand day. 43 degrees and sunshine, no wind. It was one of the best hunts I have ever been on. We saw game, the hounds worked well, the footing was stellar and Annie was great! She jumped her first coop, straight and true, and then jumped coops 2-6, with the last one being a really professional job on her part.
The coyote took us on two large loops. I started my gps exactly at the end of the first one. D’oh! Here is a map of the second loop. She both galloped well and stood at checks. She already is understanding to stay behind the horse in front of her and not pass. She doesn’t seem to mind biding her time yet has enough speed to stick with a pretty good gallop. She had some young horses moments, come to think of it she bucked 3 times in the first mile, but they weren’t much and they passed. Good day.
So we had a great hunt a few weeks ago, the day before the cold snap. Annie was excellent and Susan asked if we jumped the jumps. She did everything else so well that I didn’t want to push it, so I didn’t ask her to jump.
But I decided that we could work on it a little more seriously at home. So tonight we started very low, just as a refresher, and worked up to these actual jumps at 2’3″. She did very well!
We had some very nice moments in trot work today and some monumentally awful canter. She was throwing her shoulders around, flinging her head and being a pill, especially to the right. The horses are cranky from dealing with the mud, so I didn’t bother her too much about it. Just got some brief good work so that I could let her be done. She feels quite sound and looks fine.
Not everyday is a leap forward. No worries.
Got up in the wee hours and hauled to Yutan, NE to beagle with our beloved NHH. She loaded and hauled beautifully and tied very nicely and stood for tacking. Once I got on, she was a bit spooked by the duster I was wearing, which she made known by periodic scoots at the merest breeze. For half a second I thought about taking it off, but we had a little time to acclimate before the hunt, so we did and she accepted it fine.
On the hunt, Elliot was there to be her big brother and show her that she could indeed walk in slippery mud (the footing was actually fairly bad), and she managed, with only minor comment. She managed to rabbit home some footing changes here or there, but nothing of note. We did do some trotting and then a small canter, at which point she saw fit to put in a pretty good buck, but it passed quickly and we cantered on. Then we walked for a bit and she was relaxed, which is great. The hardest thing for your horses to learn, I think, is to canter and then walk or halt and stay relaxed.
While going through the woods, a beagle literally ran through her back legs and she didn’t react. I know she saw it run out because she flicked an ear. Pretty amazing. She had a few skitterish moments where she had to jig or twist her body. Young horse stuff. Great start.\
Not too bad out there today at 25 degrees. We had a long walk warm up, then some trot work, addressing tempo, which tends to run a little quick. Then we did some lateral work, in turn on the hindquarters. She finds this a little challenging in that she likes to challenge the rider’s right to move her hindquarters, and coming over her topline during it is not going to happen for a bit. S’alright, it got a little better tonight.
Then we did some canter work and did some simple jumping grids. We had some crookedness issues that got better as we went. We have some connection issues, which are directly related to her misunderstanding of the availability of the option to sink behind the leg. We’ll get there.
Abbie has the longest eye feeler whiskers and cutest eyelashes in the history of the world. I just had to take a picture.
Today we worked on thigh aids, to help her yield her should when asked and did some jumping over 2′ obstacles. When we get luck and distances is right, she’s a nice jumper. Needs more footwork help though. Typical for this time in their training. No worries. Good day.
So I’ve been working on Annie’s dressage, with the addition of poles on the ground to help her learn to manage her feet. That has been going well and it was time for a change, so I rode with Megan Righi in a jumping lesson tonight. Megan rode Elliot, and they both had a grand time of it. She was kind enough to shoot some video. It wasn’t exactly the Olympics, but I thought Annie did very well. If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a million:
So Annie had 6 days off while I went to the USEA convention in Texas and learned a lot about showjumping course design. Jay was taking care of the pets, while I was gone and they all (and he) did great.
I groomed her and tacked her up and put her on the lunge line. She was quite rambunctious on the line! Six days off will do that. She was kind of a cheeky monkey when I went to get on, not really standing that well and even backing up. So we had a discussion about that and came to an understanding. Once I was on, she was forward enough, but not through by any stretch of the imagination. I just kept sending her forward to the outside rein and changing direction and she did come around quite beautifully.
We were cantering over poles on the ground and having an experience of it. She is learning to adjust her stride, with varying levels of success. She actually had one refusal at a pole on the ground which I was not expecting! The distance was wrong and she didn’t know how to fix it, so she ran out. I actually think this is a good thing, because now she is at least seeing when the distance isn’t going to work. Now the next thing to do is for her to figure out how to fix it.
All in all a very good day.