Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A low point followed by a string of highs

In retrospect, adding trot back in under saddle on a lesson night where there were a ton of other horses crowded into the covered arena was not the best decision I could have made. I don't think that ultimately I harmed our progress physically, but it did not give me the space mentally to do so. I can see that now that I have temporal distance. 

Cassie's back though! 

It also meant that I asked Chriss to ride Gwyn for our next session so I could also make sure that my judgement of the situation had more than one data point. I do not regret this because it gave both of us more information! Chriss says a lot that Gwyn and her gelding Quinn are very similar. They have the same kinds of evasions and conformation struggles. When she got onto Gwyn, she was able to confirm this thought and feel what I'm feeling and working against in the saddle. 

Gwyn 'hleped' her organize. 

The biggest thing we learned is that when I describe Gwyn as dropping her shoulder and falling in, it's actually her haunches that are forever trailing to the inside. The horse is not straight. Chriss immediately got to work on a boot camp session to straighten her out. Gwyn was 

After this lesson, Chriss 'prescribed' a couple weeks of me really focusing on asking her to straighten her hind end and travel straight. In just the few rides I've had Gwyn has immediately picked up on me asking. I've not only been trying to correct her biomechanics here, but also my own. So asking with inside leg when I start to feel things shift out and if she ignores it, tapping her hip with a dressage whip. 

After the intensive with Chriss, the next time I rode it still took a few times using the whip as a reminder, but she started correcting off of the leg first by the end of the ride. In my last ride, I barely touched her with the whip. It was amazing. She's traveling much straighter and requiring less reminders about it as well. 

I also had a lesson with Emma and we worked on under saddle trot again and wow. Making sure Gwyn has impulsion to move forward is a current solution. She's really been offering a floaty trot when I get her straight, and using that haunches cue is now starting to transfer to the trot as well as the walk so she's carrying herself even better under saddle. 

Today I had to be out for my appointment with my hoof trimmer so I opted to long line Gwyn prior to the appointment to get some brain work in for her, but also limber her body up prior to the appointment. Firstly, Gwyn was a spicy meatball. Wow. But also WOW. She cantered, not initially because I asked, and she was reaching underneath herself with her hind legs and not bunny hopping in the back end. She was reaching into contact on the lines at the walk and the trot. She looked FANTASTIC. 

You guys, she held this stretchy trot for SEVERAL CIRCLES

When Corrie arrived we were back in the barn and decided to see how Gwyn did without hay as a distraction from her balance and her body. She was stable and balanced through the WHOLE trim. I'm so thrilled we're seeing progress in all these different areas. The rehab has really been great for the both of us. 

Corrie keeps cookies in her pockets and Gwyn KNOWS

All the equine clients had to pose with the reindeer antlers

I'm tentatively penciling in show dates for 2023. I think we're heading into a really really good place. 

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