Thursday, 19 May 2016

A horsey weekend

I have so many photos from the lovely horsey weekend spent with Jennie, Susan and Laura, and our horses; it is taking me ages to choose the ones to share from so many super (and embarrassing) images and videos, thanks to the lovely Laura who so kindly watched most of it through a lens!

Lucie: with reliable helpers here to observe and give feedback, I decided it was the moment to put my weight on Lucie's back and see her reactions. We started by me standing on a log and leaning over her back and when we were both relaxed about it, I slid my leg over. Quite a moment to be up there after 5 years - it was in autumn 2010 that her bone spavin was diagnosed. As all seemed well and she hadn't so far collapsed under me, we walked her a few straight steps, and she seemed to move easily enough. 

On Sunday, I put my old Etonian saddle on her, and got on. She felt very narrow after the chunky Fjord but she walked around without signs of weakness on the bad leg or lameness or feeling of discomfort or resistance. When I got off, she gave a little nicker, an enduring thing she always used to do, as if to recognise me back beside her.

Seraphina: we started out with the groundwork to see how connected we were; Susan asked to see what we had been doing together and when Seraphina didn't show much enthusiasm with the obstacles and groundwork on line, she suggested we tried some free work; not being very sure Fina would stay with me, I unclipped the rope; as it turned out, I should have taken the halter off as she stuck to me from the first and off we went down the paddock, turned at the far end and trotted up the long side, she stopped dead when I stopped, backed up, trotted off in step with me; then she weaved in and out the tyres at trot as I ran along beside her, just motioning with my hand to go around the outside of the alternate ones; I changed sides and same again, then we did it backwards with me alongside, then leading by the tail, backwards weave round the tyres; turning and changing direction, yields and turns, she was totally into it and connected, stuck to me like glue, it was thrilling and better than I hoped for, I just went with it and asked for all the moves we know and then a little more, or rather, asking less, getting more - I must learn to trust her more and see what happens in future. Once or twice at the beginning she lost confidence or concentration and trotted off to where Lucie and the others were watching, by the entrance and shed, but as soon as I went to her she reconnected and off we went again. 


Lead backwards by tail

In the afternoon, and again on Sunday morning, I rode Fina. I wanted to check she was happy in the bit and get an informed opinion and continue with the ridden work from the dressage clinic as well as some of the points that came out of the ridden session with Bandit the previous day. Different horses but both needing to soften to the bit and lift and carry themselves better. The same problems that I experienced before manifested themselves, needing to slow down Fina's trot and not allow myself to be pulled forward with it, to have a loose rein and control the trot and direct her through my body, and with Susan's excellent feedback and suggestions and reminders it was looking a lot better and she left me with the challenge to get as much lightness and feel with the bit as we have in the halter. My own thoughts from this are that I would like to achieve this in a sidepull or bitless bridle, but we didn't get on to that this time. We did get lots of nice softening from Fina but I still have a tendancy to lose my shoulders and core which is not helping her.

What was interesting was being able to see from the ground with Laura riding Fina, this helped me to understand what was happening, and Laura's photos and videos are a huge help with this too. Of course, I am not showing the bad moments here!
Laura on Fina
A few more:

Warming up on the circle

Change of direction

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