Over the weekend I had two more rides on Miss Prissypants, and am pleased to report she is coming along very nicely. It’s hard to know exactly what to say here, that’s not just more of the same, but she’s such a nice filly I feel compelled to say something, even if it’s repetitive!
Saturday we rode while there was a lesson going on, plus a couple other people in the ring. I can say she has great steering and brakes, and is much easier to maneuver at this stage in the game than any of the other horses I’ve ridden for CANTER. Since the lesson involved some work over poles, when I could, I snuck in a pass over them at the walk or trot, weaving in and out of traffic. She still pins her ears at everyone else, making “ARRRR!!” face, but her tolerance for other horses does seem to be improving, as she realizes everyone else is ignoring her.
I did joke that I want to start calling her “Pirate” because of the “ARRRRRRRR!” face, but since that will probably go away, it might be a bad idea 🙂
I’ve started introducing some canter work into our routine – while I had cantered her before to see what it was like, I was mostly concentrating on trot work to build her hind end up. But I think she’s getting a little bored with that, and truth be told I am too! So we cantered in both directions, and even on some circles. While her tendency is to want to break back to the trot, she listens very nicely to leg to continue on. Her stride is longer now than it was the first few times I cantered her, but doesn’t feel rushed, and is surprisingly balanced. At first I stayed up off her back in a little half seat but found it pretty easy to sit down later, though with her growing baby body actually sitting UP is a little difficult. I really, really love her canter – I actually can’t WAIT for the ground to improve a little bit so I can take her out on a trail ride and canter out in the fields a bit – I bet it will be so fun!
Her left lead is a little harder to get than her right, which I’ve become accustomed to, but Sunday it only took two tries, as opposed to Saturday’s four tries, so it seems she learns quickly (or I am finally learning how to ride like a real rider as opposed to a monkey).
The more she’s ridden, the more the “flat tire” feeling from her hind end seems to be going away. I’m finding that the feeling when I’m posting is getting much more consistent as we change directions, and people are noticing that she’s quite a nice mover more and more. We still have a lot of work to do to build a topline and get something akin to a “frame” ( I don’t like that term but sort of lack anything better at the moment).
To continue on our positive path, this week we have the dentist scheduled (tomorrow evening), and a dressage lesson on Thursday. The goal of the lesson will be to get her going straighter. I did notice after Sunday that I sit off to the left a little bit (wearing jeans to ride leaves a mark on my saddle, oops!), so I think if I get help with that it will help her to go straighter as well (even though part of her hind end going to the left is that her right hind is weak). Either way, Stef is remarkably good at fixing crooked people and crooked horses, so I’m looking forward to it.
It’s hard to keep her going the way I know she should be – life, weather, traffic, and work (especially work – I’m applying for a promotion and been working crazy hours lately) all conspire to take time and energy away from us, so the 4-5 rides per week and daily 2nd meals can be hard to deliver. As a volunteer, it can get even more stressful when I add my own horse to the mix – he needs his exercise and attention as well, and when I have had time to ride he’s been a little goofy due to lack of ride time. I’m trying to avoid getting overly stressed, but with so many horses that need placing, there’s some pressure to get horses fit, fat, sound, trained and sold as quickly as possible. Since we can only really have one going in Damascus at any given time, it adds a bit to my internal pressure. Pressure (even self-imposed, like mine) can lead to burnout pretty fast – I came into the 2011 feeling very motivated and energetic, but I’m worried that will slip fast under pressure to move horses, get a fundraising team in place, and keep up with everything else (due dates for grant apps, meetings and calls from the HBPA, documentation I’m working on for volunteers, etc, etc, etc).
As part of all this I’ve started a mandatory, one day per week “do nothing day.” That is today, by the way 🙂 On the one hand, it gets me a little tied up with “AH! I SHOULD BE DOING ALL THE THINGS!” but on the other, it’s refreshing and helps get me through the rest of the week. Hopefully I can continue! In any case – video coming this week of her progress, along with (hopefully) a visit out to the Funny Farm so you all can see the horses that are cooking in the fields (cooking is probably not the right term, given the weather, though, is it?). And perhaps I’ll throw funny pics of Suzy Sunshine with the dental speculum on in there as well, because those make me chuckle.