I’ve been busy this week. We had the vet/chiropractor/acupuncturist all visiting the barn this week for evaluations and treatments. Dusty ‘s evaluation: TMJ in her jaw on the left side. Probably from grinding her teeth in frustration at her neighbor Grady. He annoys her by positioning himself to close to her hay net. Her hind ankles were sore, again probably from kicking the wall when Grady is too close to her wall. She’s since been moved to her Greta Garbo “I vant to be alone” stall, where she can easily open and close her door at will, shutting herself off from the annoyances of her life. This should help those two problems disappear. She’s also stiff on her left side and a little crooked. Tell me something I don’t know!
We’ve had a few rides and have been working on her left side crookedness/stiffness by bending and softening on circles. In order to get her to try and soften to the left I use an opening rein on the inside and release the rein on the outside. It’s not a constant opening rein; I use it, release for a few steps and employ it again. If she’s really not listening or begins to fall in on the circle I will use an indirect rein behind the wither with a release on the outside rein occasionally. I don’t like to use this too much because it is a little more advanced, but it’s alright to use intermittently to give her the idea of what I want; it helps to create a more even bend through her whole body and helps me to leg yield her back out onto the circle when I need. Spiraling in and out helps her to focus. It takes her a while but when she finally gets it right, we end on a good note and finish up with a relaxing walk to cool off.
All of my rein aids are used with a steady light contact with a following rein. It’s difficult to do because she has a very active walk with a lot of head movement at all times.
Just when I start thinking she’ll never stop fighting me and never stop popping that shoulder in we have a small flash of brilliance for a few steps. She will soften and bend, come onto the bit and work through her topline. I read jme’s post today at Glenshee Equestrian it’s a terrific post explaining “on the bit” with such clarity and insight that I’ve been inspired for my rides this coming weekend. I’m going to keep plodding along and hopefully soon we will click and be “on the bit,” soft, bending and straight…
Until next time
Quote for Today
A horse is an animal not a machine and is only as good as it's rider.