Friday, September 12, 2014

Here For A Good Time

I feel like I've been this little ray of positivity lately. All I've been writing about is what a good time I've been having driving. But it's the truth! No fuss, no drama, no misery, no great things to lament, except maybe the fact that work keeps me from driving *quite* as many days a week as I'd like. If that's my only real complaint about life, I think I'm doing just fine!

I suppose if I HAD to get picky about something that isn't great, it is O's tendency on the lunge line to get stuck in right bend, forever. She shares Gogo's crookedness - left foot is slightly more upright than the right, slight asymmetry in the opposing hind. She's just kind of built in a slight curve (lots of them are that way). My bodyworker is great, but I haven't really seen improvements with the bending issue. I am trying to see if I can get a different dentist out next month, because I haven't been very happy with any of the dental work I've had done on any of my horses, but seeing as she does this in just a halter as well I don't think it's related. It does not help that *I* sit crookedly as well, but I haven't actually ridden her since June (I know, crazy right? I've just been driving!). I look back at ALL my pictures of her lunging, and she has always had this crookedness.

Yep... Queen Counterbend. 

BUT. I have two good weapons in my arsenal that help straighten her out...

Trotting over raised poles is SO helpful. These are giant clunky ones, so she really has to pay attention to where her feet are. It really helps her lengthen her topline and loosen her back and neck up. 

And she HATES this one, but it is very effective to run the lunge line through the bit back up to her surcingle. She usually only needs this done on the left side; she is quite bendy on the right.

End result: pooped out sweaty gymnasticized horse.

 I think, though, that I'll put away the lunging equipment for awhile. Long lining is SO much more useful for this kind of thing.

AND the other thing that is useful for this kind of thing is actually driving! Same as with riding, I don't think you can actually really fix your driving problems anywhere but when you're actually driving. You can help them, definitely, but until you get into that exact scenario where something is really a problem and you fix it there, it isn't solved.

We had two REALLY GREAT drives this week. She just keeps getting better and better! And it helps that I'm getting better too - figuring out how exactly to bend and hold her, and give where I need to give. It's highlighting my weaknesses when I am riding as well - they're the same when I am driving, and now I notice them!
(These following pictures are from last week - I took some commenter advice and removed her shadow roll!) 

 In the cart, I feel like I can really push her forward without consequence. When riding, she is quick to zoom off at a thousand miles an hour, but when driving she doesn't do this. She was moving quite slow in these pictures; this week, I experimented with pushing her on a bit, and found that she became a lot steadier in her contact. Again, that's a DUH moment - it's the same when riding!

It took me entirely too long to realize that your half-halting aids are the same as well while you are driving. This little piece of information clicking in my head made me suddenly realize that I DO have every ability to correctly bend my horse in both directions! Whadda ya know.

We also took a very successful 5 mile drive down the road this week. This was her first time alone with blinders, and not surprisingly she was a bit spooky and balky on the way out. She is that way when riding as well, so it wasn't a surprise. The good news is that now that I've experienced a dramatic spook from her, I'm ready for them and I can feel them coming. Her spooks since then have all been typical for her, a big start and then an immediate continuation along like nothing happened. She was balky on the way out, and then was nice and forward on the way back.... not ideal. (This is why I need to practice carrying my whip at home!) HOWEVER, on the way back, she gave me this AMAZING feel in my hands, so light and electric and forward. She felt incredible! She just gets better and better!

Tomorrow I am going to volunteer at our local fall ADS sanctioned pleasure show, so that I can be a sponge and absorb as much as I can. I'm excited!


  1. It's so awesome to read about how incredible she's doing :) Driving has always looked like fun!

  2. How freaking awesome. Can't wait to hear a full report on what you learn!

  3. SO AWESOME! I think you've finally found what she loves doing. Can't wait to hear about the ADS event and your next steps from here!

  4. So exciting about the ADS show!!! I hope you'll take pictures and share what you learn! I'm so enjoying reading your blog and learning more about all of this since I would like to try it someday. O looks so good by the way!