When I arrived, Margaret already had Pippa in the aisle. She was working on having Pippa ground tie while she groomed her and was apparently having good success, as the young mare was standing agreeably with a relaxed expression. I finished the rest of the grooming with her in the cross ties, since I had to walk back and forth to my car for some things and to the tack room to get her saddle and new bridle.
After I worked her in hand while chatting with Jon, I put her new bridle on. (Beautiful hand-me down from her brother. Michelle has taken such good care of the bridle. It is in supple, lovely condition.) I took the dropped noseband off and left her with the cavesson. I am not a big fan of dropped nosebands, aesthetically or functionally, but I can live with them. I just don’t use them if there isn’t good reason. I hung the strap on the girth bar in the tack room.
I got on and did a tour about the area around the arena, over by the hydrant and garden, through the water complex and back, never leaving sight of the barn. Magee appeared on Lottie and we both worked in the arena for about 10 minutes. We had some nice canter work. We moved the fences so that there is room to go around the outside of them.
Then Pippa led “Uncle Lottie” on a tour of the property including going by the spraying sprinkler in the east pasture, along the hilly trail by the fenceline, to the water complex, around the field counter clockwise, down the path from the south field to the lower meadow where the related-distance tables are (which is more of a slope than it seems and she did well), through the water complex and to the far side of the arena where I dismounted. Great day.
As I mentioned yesterday, I am now endevouring to ride her on light contact. After a few minutes of doing so, all the while reminding myself “elastic soft connection” it became clear to me that this connection is really a help to her young, occasionally unbalanced self. I should not be surprised.
We had some pretty acceptable work in the ring and then went on a hack with Margaret and Lottie, and other than a few moments of extreme lightness that only young horses know how to conjure, it went well.
Grooming and inhand work were unremarkable other than the fact that she is really a treat to work with and terrifically attractive. She has big brown deer eyes. I got on and she was fine, though bothered by flies. I got off, went back in and fly sprayed her again, especially on her belly, because she is very bothered by flies there and will pull up her hind legs to brush them away so energetically as to feel as if she is bucking, which she clearly isn’t, but it lifts my seat bone on that side about 6″ higher than the other! Poor dear.
I got back in the tack and trotted along for a while, then asked for a halt. She stopped as abruptly as she is wont, but also threw her head up and smacked me at the base of my nose with her poll. Really? Pretty not cool.
So I decided that having a little closer rein contact might be a good idea – enough contact to discourage her from throwing her head like a wild child, but still enough slack and elasticity that she does not feel trapped or inhibited.
After some canter work we (Margaret on Lottie) went out on a hack for a few minutes which went well.
Margaret and I had a little chat before our work today and we both expressed that we should tail back a little on Pippa as far as expectations. She may be going through a growth spurt or any number of other things and my feeling is that her lovely little brain just can only process so many things at one time at her tender age.
So today we did basically no arena work and just went on a slow walk around the corn field and a little bit around the water complex and some of the nearby jump trails. Only once she got a little tense, and for the most part she just had a very relaxed time. We did just a bit of work on sidepass before I got off. Good day.
Pippa was out grazing when I arrived and she let herself be caught and settled into the cross ties just fine. After grooming, I did some in hand work and she seemed to be a little stiff to the left, but she improved and cooperated just fine. Then I got in the tack. She backed up about 5 steps when asked to go forward, but she eventually went. Her walk work was usual, a little behind the leg, but came around. Trot was pretty good actually, and then we did some sidepassing, which went quite well.
In canter work, she was kicking out at the pile of jump rails in their holder. Every time we would go by she would kick at it and land bucking. She got over herself, but it was a little unusual. She settled in and we had some good canter work. Then we went out for a hack. A friend was walking with my dogs ahead of us, which Pippa thought was interesting no end. She walked along fine. When we got to the other side of the cornfield, something (nothing any of the humans or Lottie discerned) scared her and she whirled 180 degrees and did a leap and buck that nearly got me off. I was none too impressed and when she settled I was very glad. I did not punish her because she did stop quickly and she must have been scared of something to do that. It just isn’t in her nature.
We walked back to the arena and did some walk, trot and canter work, which went well.
I can only think that, since she is two years old, her young brain just gets overwhelmed with too many stimuli. I will be more thoughtful with what I present to her.
Jon and Margaret brought Pippa over to Field Day for a roadtrip experience. It was also the maiden experience for the new trailer, so exciting times all around. Pippa and Lottie unloaded well and settled into the washrack just fine. We tacked up and road in the indoor.
Pippa thought it was pretty strange that she was in an arena and could see outside as well, but dealt with that pretty well. She was suprised a time or two by Luke moving outside, and had a big shy at that, but she recovered well. Then I got off and held onto her reins while I opened the overhead door, which, like many horses, she thought was pretty scary. However, she got over it as I walked her through it several times. Then I got on and walked her through it and she did fine.
Lottie and Margaret and Pippa and I then went on a hack around the pasture. The traffic was whizzing by on the state highway, but she was mostly non-reactive to it – just lent it an ear for some of the louder traffic, but didn’t react.
At one point she sniffed a log jump and then put her hoof on it, which knocked some bark off it and scared her. She whirled 180 degrees, but recovered quickly. Funny girl.
Then we hacked back in, untacked and loaded her back into the trailer with no problem. Great day.
When I arrived, Margaret had Pippa in the cross ties and groomed. Nice! I tacked up and went out and did some in hand work which went very well. Then into the tack and walking around the grassy areas around the sand ring, which went well. Then some more formal work in the ring, with serpentines, sidepassing and some light canter work, which went well with only a few exceptional strides for bucks. Her canter felt more balanced than it did just last week. Very nice. It is interesting how these young horses develop in plateaus and bounds.
Then we went out for a walk hack around the corn field, which went well. Then Margaret got on and rode her around in the arena, which went well.
Jon and Jay were solving the world’s problems in the shade while Pippa and I did some in hand work to warm up. I put her bridle on and had a walk around the grass jump arena and then did some flatwork in the arena. She continues to improve on balance and steering. She bucked a few times in canter, but nothing to worry about. Then we went on a hack around the outside of the corn field. Of course, she was looking for Lottie especially when we turned for home, but she managed to keep relatively steady. Just a few trot steps and some inattention. Not bad at all. Then did the path Margaret and Lottie and Pippa and I did last week, but this time from the opposite direction. She was suspicious of the green bench, but kept her head about her and her feet moving. Very good.
We had a nice rinse, fly spray and back out to her run.Very good day.
Very hot weather suggested a morning ride. When I arrived at 9:15, Margaret already had Pippa in the cross ties and Pippa was putting on her cutest face when I walked up. She is just darling.
We tacked up and I did some in hand work which went well. I put her bridle on and walked her around, but today we went out in the grass right away rather than staying in the sand, just for something different. She looked pretty hard at all the jumps, but did well and went by. Then we did trot and canter work in the sand. We had a buck in canter, but she got over it pretty quickly.
Margaret and Lottie and Pippa and I went on a new trail for Pippa – the one east of the barn. We went past the ditch, which she only looked at and kept her feet moving, then down the hill to the spot that is usually wet, but is currently dry. She lost her balance down the hill a little, but managed pretty well.
Then we had a walk around the field and Pippa did very well. She gets a little goofy by the traffic on the west side of the property. Maybe she should come and live in our pasture for a few days and let the traffic go by and learn to tolerate it.
Then we came back and Margaret rode Pippa for a bit around the arena, which went well.
I planned to ride yesterday, but the heat index was around 100 degrees and I didn’t think little precious Pippa needed to work under those conditions. Much less humid today and around 82. It really was a perfect day!
We tacked up and I went out and did some inhand work which went well. Then we did a walk warm up around the sand arena and the grass jumping area, where she got a chance to inspect some of the jumps.
We worked in the arena in all gaits and Megan was kind enough to take some pictures.They are mostly of canter, which was the gait we did the least, but of course it is the most interesting to photograph.
Even got a mild buck picture!
…And the famous Pippa stop. Notice the dust flying. Good girl! I am petting her, not falling off.
We followed it up with a hack around the upper field with Lottie and Megan, which went well. Afterwards, we hosed off the horses and Megan grazed them while I put the triple bar up.
The broccoli and beans are really growing!