I can feel myself getting a little lax about the blog, you know? We’re in the middle of that gap in the year when I am relieved that the season is over and still have a few more weeks before I begin longing for it to start again.
So, in the meantime, I’m all over the place with the riding. I don’t have any reason to condition aggressively, so I’m not. Blue’s shoes are coming off next week, and I’m hoping to leave them off long enough for the nail holes to grow out.
The weather has been all over the place too. We had a sunny day last weekend, so we did hill work on the back 40. We had rainy weeknights, so I’ve been doing arena work with the German martingale.
I’m concentrating really hard on bend-bend-bend, followed by lift and extend. Meantime also working his offside diagonal, which is hard work for both of us. I came home just as sweaty from riding the bad diagonal as I did from a half-hour on the treadmill at the gym.
I also got out “The Athletic Horse” again for a quick review of those principles. All that did was make me more determined to even out the diagonals… and change my cool down. Instead of walking around doing not much for the last 10 minutes of arena work, now we walk around flexed to the inside or the outside. Physically, it isn’t particularly demanding, but Blue and I are giving the synapses a much-needed workout: “Yes, I can walk forward but look to the side.”
Speaking of that. As long as I’m jumping all over the place with gymnastic training, I’m also drilling him on the trot-outs. They were abysmal at Foothills. He trudged, I dragged. And while I don’t exactly blame him (considering the weather), I could cross-reference with all of our other rides this year and safely assume that he was only getting worse. His leading has never been particularly light or responsive, and I was paying for it in my vet scores. Luckily, Sarah has a training wand with a shiny, noisy pompom on the end of it. It scared the everloving crap out of him the first time I shook it at him. But danged if he didn’t offer a more animated trot after that. I’m going to keep drilling until I can put the wand away. Then I’m going to drill some more. ;) He is still a far cry from Otto, who would drag me from one end of the trot-out to the other.
In other news, Blue absolutely DESTROYED the waterproof blanket I bought him. It was a Kensington Roustabout, which is supposedly 1200x600D and only 120g filling. Whatever. Blue got out of his paddock, as usual, and left pieces of this $100 ebay bargain hanging in various trees. So, new plan. I just ordered a 1680D rain sheet for an outlandish amount of money—1680 being the highest denier available without a prescription (I’m pretty sure).
If he shreds this one, he’s SOL. I’m clipping him.
He’ll be cold, and he’ll like it.