So while I was throwing some cookies in the oven last night, I had a little giggle at how appropriate they were. On first glance, they are all double chocolate goodness. But bite in, and there’s some complexity there – there’s some spice, some mellow undertones, and a little bit of something hot. They’re up there on the favorite cookie list, and they’re appropriate because, well, Mikey is kind of like that.
He’s so personable and sweet, you just have to love him. But under that, the more you ride and learn about him, there’s a little bit of a complex horse there – a horse who is smart, learns quickly (almost too quickly), has far more athletic potential than you might think at first, and can be a little complex to ride at times.
So from here on out I’m calling those cookies “Mikey Cookies.” Which of course immediately got me thinking of other cookies I like, and which horses I would compare them to. So prepare yourselves, I will be creating a “Cookies for CANTER” cookbook, which will be available electronically for a donation of a yet-to-be-determined amount. Probably around 20-25 of our favorite cookie recipes, with bits about the horses, etc, to be included.
See what happens when I cook late at night? heh.
In any case, Mikey got his second session with our dressage trainer last night. The first looked something like this:
(please excuse her not perfect apparel!). Anyhow, as I mentioned in the last entry where I actually talked about Mikey, it wasn’t really “pretty” – she worked mostly on trying to “unstick” his rear end/pelvis and get him moving off the leg. His head tossing, etc, wasn’t the main focus of the ride. By the end, however, he seemed comfortable, actually forward, and started relaxing through the back and neck (though only for brief periods). I referred to this session as a “ridden chiropractic” session and I stick to that description!
Since that ride, he’s had a shot of Legend, and I rode him over the weekend to see how he felt. The first thing I noticed was that he’s terribly smart. After his ride with working on moving his hips and feet sideways, he almost immediately began trying to walk sideways. I got him straightened out and warmed up, and then when I tried to work on it, he sort of “over did” it… like, “oh! you want me to go sideways I can do that! Here! Let me do it a lot!!!” Except – he wasn’t really doing it properly or using himself well, he was just sort of scooting.
If anything, it reminded me of a dog that has learned some tricks, and when he wants a treat, rolls through his entire repertoire of tricks as quickly as possible. So it was an interesting ride, although we had some wonderful moments, there are just certain things I don’t have the feel and knowledge to work with properly right away (in addition to him overdoing his response to being asked to shift his hips, he’s also developing the tendency to curl behind the bit – something that I know is wrong but don’t always know how to deal with).
All that said, when I got on last night to warm him up for trainer session #2, he felt lovely. He felt even and more forward than usual, but was also relaxed and reasonably straight. Some photos from warmup:
Anyhoo. Clearly there is some improvement with contact, and sometimes we’re even properly forward. After that, though, we had to put the camera away – it was getting dark and the flash was a little bothersome (Mike couldn’t have cared less but some of the other horses, not so much). Also couldn’t get video because it was too dark, but following my warmup Stef rode for about twenty minutes, working on some of the same things she did the last time but also asking for more straightness. To work on the “over-sideways” issue she switched her whip hand, using the whip to restrain some of the sideways movement (previously it was needed to induce some sideways movement, heh). She also tried out his canter a few times and seemed pretty pleased – it is actually fairly comfortable and easy to ride, with the only exception that he does root a little bit.
So homework is to do more lateral work, using that dressage whip to help keep him within the boundaries I want. Also to sit up straight and stop cocking my wrists. And also to feel free to be “rude” back to him when he roots or does that kind of thing. Over the next week we will schedule a ring work but also some trail riding and “fun time” – Mikey has a very active brain and I think keeping him doing different things and not drilling anything will be to our advantage. He’s a quick study so drilling, I think, would give me a horse like that trick dog I mentioned earlier. 🙂