I brought out my fancy new brushes to give them a try. Kachina is shedding in full force and was muddy besides. I started off planning to ride, but ended up just giving Kachina a good long grooming session until the sun went down. Usually grooming is not our most fun activity, but for once the wind was calm so I wasn't getting hair in my face, and Kachina was content to stand and didn't start pawing every 5 seconds. I'd like to give the new brushes credit, but I think Kachina was just having a chill day because she was more patient than normal even when I started the grooming routine with our regular shedding blade. I even combed out her mane and tail at the end. It was really nice to be out there spending some quality time with my horse on a warm evening, surrounded by a beautiful sunset sky. I probably should have taken some photos but I didn't.
|So you get another photo of fancy brushes|
I met fellow boarders S and P out at the barn for a ride. We had wanted to go for our first ride of the year out across the fields, but it was crazy windy so we ended up riding in the indoor arena instead. Kachina's walk and trot work were really good so I did a bit of canter work. We got the wrong lead a couple times to start but we ended up getting nice circles in both directions. I made good on my Q2 goals and practiced some test riding (WT A and Training 1). The walk/trot test patterns went well, but I threw in a couple extra circles to prepare for the canter transitions in the training patterns. However, we did succeed at exiting the circle and getting a good straight long side of canter so I was happy with that. After cantering, I tried doing some leg yielding with Kachina at the trot to get her mind back. She was rushing and reverted back to being convinced that any leg meant go faster. As soon as she gave me a few sideways steps without speeding up I let her be done. When we were all finished riding, S, P, and I let our mares loose in the arena. The rides must have used up their extra energy because they all rolled and then just came over to be caught instead of running or playing.
One of the new boarders had messaged me about wanting to meet up so we set a time to both go out and work our horses together. It was a bit windy, but not near as bad as the day before so I tacked up for a ride in the outdoor arena. Kachina started out very tense and spooky. The neighbour's horses were milling about behind a nearby windbreak, and the neighbor on the other side kept revving his motorcycle engine, so there was a lot of giraffing and distraction on Kachina's end. I kept working on moving Kachina's hip and ribcage at the walk until she started relaxing and paying attention. She still lifted her head up to look at the other horses for a couple strides every now and then but we got some good walk and trot work. I practiced some stretchy trot and worked on transitions by shortening and lengthening my reins. It wasn't perfect but the fact that we worked on stretchy trot during a tense day was a good step for us. I then cantered both directions. The transitions weren't really on my aids, but she gave me some really nice steps of a balanced round canter so I immediately gave her a loose rein walk and ended on that note.
One of my university friends came to visit from out of town. I took him out to the barn to meet Kachina. It was his first time being up close with a horse (city kid ;-) ). I tacked up Kachina and brought her to the outdoor arena with my lunging gear. I first lunged Kachina on her own, and then when I confirmed that she was listening, I threw my friend up on her for a short pony ride. I kept them on the lunge and just did some walking in both directions. I could tell Kachina had to think about whether she was supposed to listen to me or him so some of her responses were slow, but she was genuinely trying to be good and I was really proud of her. I grabbed some photos and then he dismounted and I got on.
Kachina is a horse that likes routine. I use this to my advantage a lot by using a consistent warm-up routine etc. However, sometimes it's not possible to do things in the normal way, and I want Kachina to be adaptable, so I also mix things up every now and then. Sunday was a perfect example of that; I knew that having my friend ride would mess up Kachina's routine, but I did it anyways. When I mounted up I could tell she was a bit tense from the extra thinking. I was patient with her but still put her to work and started my normal warm-up. It took her a while but eventually she settled down and gave me some good work. We got a really nice canter transition in each direction that actually happened on the aids! The canter itself was faster and more unbalanced than the day before though. The best part of the ride though was when she gave me a few good circles of stretchy trot AFTER the canter work! Generally she gets more tense and fast after we've cantered, so to be able to keep a steady trot rhythm on a looser rein was huge for us. Her stretch isn't consistent and she doesn't hold it, but she was reaching down every few strides and I'm happy with that plus the relaxation for now.
|And I got media on Sunday! Will share more next post|