Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Dressij

I have a few more pics from the hunt last weekend!

Yes, I only made it into one of them. But, you can see some of our beautiful hunt country! 

I did a good deed for the universe this weekend. I got linked up with a questionable ad for a greyhound who had apparently been wandering in the street, and the people who had found him (that same afternoon) were asking $100 for a rehoming fee. That screamed stolen dog to me, so I went to pick up the hound, bartering him down to $50. I had the intention of finding the owner, but as it turned out, the owner had already been located and didn't want the hound back. The hound had been found running with another greyhound (who was muzzled and supposedly aggressive? Greyhounds just aren't aggressive so I have no idea what that could have meant), but the other hound had run off. I have four other dogs, including an elderly greyhound of my own of course, and knew that I couldn't keep him, but I couldn't leave him. He had layers and layers of dirt caked on him, was covered in ticks and fleas, and had a horrible haircoat and was thin. He was tattooed but not fixed, which was a little weird. I took him home, bathed him (several times), pulled at least 30 ticks off of him, doctored his open wounds (several, and it looked as thought he had possibly broken a hind leg at one point? He was not sound), and contacted my local greyhound adoption agency. I was VERY tempted to keep him myself, he was SO SWEET and SO HANDSOME, but he was very interested in making snacks out of my cats (which is common for race dogs), so off he went with his new foster mom. I'm sure he'll need extensive medical treatment, but once he is healthy he'll be adopted out! 

Isn't he gorgeous! Good luck to you my friend!

Following the hunt, O had three days off, then got back to work yesterday with some dressage. We were going to go to another barrel race on Tuesday, but I opted to have date night with Future Hubs instead (which was way fun and totally worth missing a ride for). Yesterday it was rainy and cruddy, but I wanted to ride anyway, so I tried to wait for a break in the weather to hop on. Not surprisingly, as soon as I finished tacking up, it began to pour. I was already about to mount up, so I figured why not just get on and ride anyway. She was understandably not pleased at first, and there was some head ducking/neck curling to avoid getting rain in the face, but the rain thankfully let up after a short about of time (though the mist persisted throughout the entire ride). I tried a little something different in that I cantered first, right off the bat. It did not do any favors for her trotwork, which I felt never really settled into the relaxation that I was trying to achieve, but the canterwork was GREAT. It was probably the best directly dressage related canterwork that I've done with her, and it was good in both directions! I held her tightly together with my seat, and that really kept her enthusiasm under wraps, but it also didn't overtighten her back - she just stayed in the same controllable rhythm, not at all speedy or rushed. I had a talk with Stacey a little while ago about her Mocha (who is a similar ride to O) and how to keep these little firecrackers under wraps, and we talked about holding with our thighs and seat, really holding. This worked for Mocha, and it also is working for O. O likes the stability of a SUPER quiet seat, and the quieter you are, the quieter she is. When she is a little up, she needs a strong halt halt about every other stride, but when she is relaxed, she is happy to smoothly flow along without any real intervention on my past. 
I've been using the running martingale on her every ride, just to make sure the old head toss that had resurfaced is going to go back down to the depths of hell, and it is working like a charm. Obviously that is only a temporary thing, but for now it is very helpful. I'll pull it off soon, but as for now, while we are really starting to finally get into the grit of proper canterwork, it is a good backup to have so she doesn't default the head toss. When she is relaxed and stretchy, no head toss... when she is fiery and not amused with having to keep it under wraps, the head toss comes out. We'll get there.

She says ughhhhh are we done yet, I'm soaked.

Today I tried to see about trying an endurance saddle on her (a real proper one!), but of course, it didn't fit. I therefore opted for another dressage ride, even though I usually don't do the same thing two days in a row. Today instead of warming up at the canter (which seems to fizzle her up a bit instead of quiet her down), I spent a good 20 minutes doing simple walk work on the bit, on a slightly longer rein, doing some easy leg yields and circles and serpentines back and forth between bends. At the walk, when she switches bends and you can move her laterally from side to side, she stretches out through her back and loosens up through her neck. The lower and stretchier you get her, the more relaxed she becomes. From there, we progressed on to some very simple, very quiet, very stretchy trot, and she was so good with that that I just called it a day on a very high note with a crisp and square halt. (She is the queen of haunches to the right at the halt). I am all about quiet, relaxed, stretchy work, especially for a mare like this one. If I can get through the majority of a ride with her just taking a nice contact and holding a steady rhythm - without having to give 5948925930293 halt halts to get there - then I am very happy. 

Tomorrow I probably won't have time to ride, but if I do, she is in need of a good long hack. Spring is here and the weather is beautiful, with highs in the upper 80's and bright sunshine. I'm sure deathstorm season is bearing down on us though... hopefully it won't be too terrible this year!

"Feed us! We are DYING of starvation!"


  1. Hehe I like that you described the greyhound as "not sound". He was beautiful!

  2. Aw good for you for helping the greyhound. That is a really fishy situation all around. I wonder what the real story is!

  3. Aww, such a cute dog! Glad you found a foster :-)

  4. aww that greyhound is precious