Well, I've had a very interesting day! After gushing to you all on how well Immy has been doing, today she had a wild hair and totally threw me for a loop. (I mean that in the most literal sense.) When I set her out on the lunge before our ride, she took off in a panic, bucking and twisting like she had never worn a saddle before in her life. I thought she was going to drag me off of my feet! After she settled, I got on and rode around for a good while at the walk and trot with no problems, and then asked her to canter. It started off okay, and then we rounded a corner... and all hell broke loose. She took off like a bottle rocket, careered around the corner, lost all steering, and exploded into a series of rodeo bronc bucks. I was a total goner... she popped me right off before I even had a chance to try and re-balance. I dunno WHAT it is about this mare... I haven't been bucked off in YEARS despite all the wild critters I've been on that have tried their hardest to lawn dart me, and I pride myself on my Superglue-like stickability... this mare has had me off twice now since I've started her, and she pitched me like I was a total novice noob. I have no idea what got into her today! I'm going to treat her for a few days with Omeprazole, just because that is the only thing I can think of that would make her that titchy out of nowhere... we'll see if that makes a difference. She's something else, that's for sure! (I got back on and had a perfectly normal ride after that... who know!)
O, on the other hand, was a lovely little angel today.... or well, for her she was! I rigged up a completely eventer-ghetto style neck stretcher for our ride today:
Yes, that is a broken chambon-turned-neck-stretcher, held up with sidereins-turned-breastcollar, attached with a curb-strap-turned-girth-loop, and finished with a rope and rawhide halter and a single strap bridle. A few people said she looks embarrassed, which is probably true! But mostly, she's tired from her ride ;)
(Don't worry, I DO own several breastcollars, martingales, halters, proper bridles, and girth loops... I was just too lazy to dig through my trailer, so I improvised with what I had and it worked really well!)
She did very well with this getup. For having yesterday off (I was very ill with a killer migraine), she was surprisingly quiet today, and was perfectly happy to bop around on the lunge to start without getting too hot. She was very quiet walking, which is not how she usually is, and was somewhat quieter than usual when trotting. She gave me a little bit of 'tude, and sucked back a little, but it wasn't much. The neck stretcher was not enough to inhibit her movement in any way, but it seemed to make her think she was under more of lock-and-key than she was used to, and she responded by not being as belligerent - she stayed more or less where she was supposed to, and I didn't have to get after her about barging forward or sucking back. She was still fairly locked through her back, but she gave me some nice moments, and it was nice to be able to allow her a length of rein. I was going to try a running martingale with her (she loves to toss her head, grab the bit and barge forward, etc), but I think this might work better, so I'll try it again a few more times and see how I like it. She seems to like the magic baby blue bit, so we'll stick with that too!
Boy is she ever starting to look NICE:
3 weeks of work! Not too shabby!
As for our goals.....
Immy April Goals:
1) Trailer out to a new place (arena, trail) to ride for the first time off-property!
Success! She did GREAT going to an arena for the first time, quietly walking and trotting in an arena full of horses going in every which direction! She's surprisingly not spooky, and is very curious about her surroundings - she really does seem to enjoy exploring new things.
2) Ride 3-4 times a week
Well, it was SORT of a success... I was injured for a large part of the month! But aside from when I was stuck on crutches, we did pretty well with this!
3) Continue with w-t-c work under saddle, & start to walk and trot over poles!
More or less a success - we didn't do work over poles, but we did the rest! I didn't ride nearly as much as I want to, and I never do... if I push her too much mentally, she shuts down, so I always take it VERY slowly with her. If she needs a few days off, she gets a few days off... there is no need to fry her.
4) TRAIL RIDES! Go out with P, go out with Rue, and start to go out ALONE!
Success! We didn't do as much as I wanted, given my injury, but she is starting to ride out alone in the big field and she LOVES it!
5) Continue relaxation and desensitization, as always!
As always, a work in progress.... as always, it is hit and miss! She is SO hypersensitive to touch despite all the desensitization, calming supplements, belly supplements, and hyper-boost of magnesium that she gets... she's a tricky one for sure!
O-Ren April Goals:
1) Work on the lunge and on the ground - in equipment, work on obedience, correctness of work
Success! She did REALLY well with this - she started off barging off at her own speed and giving me attitude about moving up into the canter (trotting faster with her ears back), but after some serious mannering and hard work, she now walks-trot-canters-whoas without issue, and stays out on a circle where she is supposed to be without dragging me outwards or falling inwards. She works mostly in the Faux-ssoa on the lunge, as I've found she likes to hide behind sidereins to some extent (but doesn't do this in the Faux-ssoa), and she has done exceptionally well with this. I'm really, really happy with this goal.
2) Start to just work quietly under saddle on a long rein, going out on the trail with friends, light saddle work - walk and trot, RELAXATION and OBEDIENCE
It's a work in progress, but I would definitely call it a success in terms of 'working on'. She's going under saddle and is walk-trot-canter, which I did NOT expect seeing as the entire reason I got her was because she wouldn't go faster than a walk! I thought for sure she'd be quiet and lazy... as it turns out, she is hotter than hellfire and has a red mare attitude to boot! She is all sorts of messed up under saddle, and wants to grab the bit and barge forward, suck back and slow down, go sideways one way, go sideways the other way, duck behind the bit, toss her head... basically do everything except what her rider is asking her to do! But she's such a sweetheart on the ground, and has some SO far with her attitude on the lunge, that I don't think it won't be too long before she starts to chill out under saddle.
3) Clean her all up - bang tail, pull mane, clippers, etc! Makeover!
Success! She's had all sorts of makeover-type things to her and she looks like a new horse, complete with slick and shiny new coat!
4) Fix up her toes - they are a mess!
Success! But, it is time for another trim - her toes are already getting long. She'll need to be kept on a 3 or 4-week schedule for some time in order to keep her toes under control and her cracks from worsening. The cracks will grow out without issue, I'm sure of that... it just takes time and treatment.
5) Trail rides!
Success! She's been getting worked the same whether or not she is on the trail or in the arena, but I'd like to start doing just walk work on the trails as well... she's just so stinking hot that it takes some riding down to get her to chill out enough to be able to walk quietly, period!
P-Mare April Goals:
1) Trails twice a week! :) I've been riding P-mare pretty regularly on the trail, the other two ladies just tend to overshadow her in her semi-retirement... but I've had some requests to update on her more often, so I will definitely make sure she gets her fair share of the limelight!
Success :) She's been getting ridden a few times a week on the trail, with some trot and canter tossed in for good measure when she is sound enough... but mostly, she is excellent for ponying the little girls off of, or grabbing a beer, hopping on and just going for a relaxing ride at the end of the day!
In terms of goals, I am going to buck tradition and not set May goals for Immy. I think there is too big of a gap between what I want her to be doing by now and what she is mentally capable of doing at this point, and I don't want to set either of us up for failure or disappointment. We'll continue to do what we've been doing, but keep things low-key... she is still a long way from quiet and broke, despite how far she has come.
As for O, she definitely needs structure, goals, and wet saddle pads, so she gets some goals for sure! And P-mare? Trails twice a week, same thing! :)
O-Ren May Goals:
1) Continue work on the lunge in Faux-ssoa - try chambon/neck stretcher? Lunge over poles
2) Continue consistent work under saddle - w/t/c, relaxation, OBEDIENCE, steering/brakes/adjustability!
3) Free-jump in the chute - see what she's got!
4) Start taking a peek at late summer schooling shows - possibilities?
5) Continue to work on her feet - they have a ways to go!
I've already taken a few peeks at the North Texas Eventing calendar. If she continues to do well with w/t/c work this month, we'll start to do some little jump work next week. She's one tough cookie, so it's impossible to say where she'll be at the end of the month, but considering how well she has done, I think she will be ready for some small stuff in a few months.
It's going to be back in the 30's tomorrow... yes, I said 30's.... in Texas... in MAY... WHAT IS GOING ON?