|Just hanging out.|
Make no mistake, to the right of the screen there were
several geldings hanging their heads over the fence, waiting
and watching, lol.
Regardless, everyone made it out alive and I received a text at 7:30am that both horses were quietly munching hay. When I arrived just after 1pm, both horses were casually wandering the paddock, and both seemed to be in good spirits.
|That forward transition tho.|
Not that I *need* to, but it would make things less stressful for me, lol. The horses did good, and I was happy to see they both seemed content.
Until I went to go grab Annie from the paddock. I pulled her out and I could almost feel how electric she felt. Her eyes were wide, she was snorty, and very flighty.
I ignored it, and tied her to the trailer. She danced around, started pawing, swinging her haunches around and kept slamming into the end of her leadrope. It really didn't help that Spud started screaming for her the instant we left the paddock. Thanks, Spud.
She was given a few good smacks and boots to the gut while I got ready, but I mostly ignored her hijinks. Once I placed some hay in front of her, she settled marginally but still whipped her head around and acted like a giant idiot.
I tacked up without a problem and let her stand tied to the trailer until the last possible second to work out her feelings before wandering into the barn. She spooked hard at the feed trailer and ATV as we passed, which caused the poor girl in the ring's horse to spook also. I called out an apology and continued to lead into the upper portion of the indoor arena.
|Slowly but surely getting it <3|
We mostly walked, as I realized I miscalculated the time and Derek had gone for a short 15 minute break. We played with some trot, but mostly left it alone because I knew Annie was exhausted and another grueling 45 minute lesson would be torture if I used up what she had left in the tank.
Derek came out from his break and one of the first things he said was, "She must've been playing around all night because she certainly isn't arguing with you today."
I laughed and replied, "Well, she had a buffet of handsome boys rotating along her paddock all night."
We got straight to work, applying the same principles as the day previous, except there was a lot less resistance from Annie. She still popped above the contact as a means to evade, but I found that "babying" her each step helped her hold and understand the concept. Derek explained that because she is weak, she can't hold herself together and that "hand holding" her isn't a bad thing at this stage.
|Pictured: some hand holding.|
Some tidbits I gleaned from Day 2:
- Derek had us work mostly in posting for this ride, and had us in a very forward trot. Annie bounded into canter multiple times, but the idea was that a more active trot will unlock the back more than a slow, toe-dragging trot.
- I should be encouraging her to stretch down as much as she can. While she may hit "good enough" in some circumstances, asking for her to go above and beyond that marker is essential.
- We rode over trot poles in the one corner multiple times and holy heck, she was stepping so beautifully over them it nearly bounced me out of the saddle! I do need to remember to approach them straight, and to encourage her to trot (see point 1: ACTIVE TROT) actively; forward forward forward!
- We found that when I raise my hands, Annie will raise her head in response. Derek had me ride with my hands quite low, nearly touching the saddle. It felt weird to me, but Annie was much happier.
- There is a missing link between the trot-canter cue (which I eluded to in my Day 1 post), essentially that when I put my leg on to ask for canter, Annie will actually slow her tempo down before picking up the canter (which is why she can pick up the wrong lead. The moments hesitation leads to her favoring the opposite leg). We worked on this a bit, and found that when I just pushed her out into a faster trot until she rolled into canter, she had no problems picking it up smoothly and correctly.
- Derek mentioned our Day 1 trot was too slow for Dressage, and our Day 2 trot was too fast. We did utilize about 10 minutes of the lesson playing around with our "Dressage trot".
- "Do you feel the swinging?"
- At one point I was getting frustrated - Annie kept bobbling above the bit and I had to work extra hard to keep her contained. Derek simply smiled and said, "It's frustrating because she's figuring it out."
All in all, it was much more progress than Day 1 (however, I have no media from Day 2 so... you'll have to settle for more Day 1 Gifs, lol) and although Annie was wiggling above the bit and trying to figure out what the heck was going on, I felt like she was starting to really understand what I was wanting from her.
Derek reminded me to ride her lower for a majority of my rides, and even commented that whilst trail riding, asking her to lower and lift would be beneficial. In fact, as the lesson finished, he looked at me and Show Buddy and said, "Now, if Show Buddy sees you riding around, it better be low and round. Otherwise, she is allowed to kick your butt!" Duly noted!
I felt pretty good with the lessons tho... until I watched the lesson right after us (the horse is a year younger, and certainly much more schooled). I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel a bit inadequate, especially because there was a comment or two made by a bystander that made me and Annie feel a bit... lacking. Which, is silly.... we are all on our own journeys and we are all working on different things. I deliberately did not blog about the clinic for a few days because I wanted to get my mind back in gear and be able to appreciate the work we accomplished without allowing my brain to spoil it over something so trivial and silly.
I feel much better about it after letting everything sink in for a few days - things are chugging along, and although it's quite slowly, haha, we are still making forward progress and there are still so many things to be happy about.