( Twenty-sixth page of Shifting Times )
So Friday training was canceled because Kim was sick. I won't have training next Friday either as she's going in to have a surgery that will hopefully improve her hearing (she is deaf). In place of it, I took both Panda and Kash to the park with its public arena.
I worked Panda first and left Kash in the trailer. She was a little nervous when I tacked her up, but not so bad as she was on Wednesday. Of course, her nervousness didn't help me any and upped my apprehension. I worked her on the ground briefly before getting on and started working the tension out. Lots of walking at first and bending before moving up to the trot, continuing with the bending, turning, and getting her to move off of my leg (sideways rather than forward). The goal was to get her to relax
, which is Panda's biggest thing, especially in the arena. She tries so hard to work she gets herself nervous about it. She is more relaxed out on trail (so long as she's in the lead and not being left behind) and I just need to translate that into relaxed all the time. Eventually. Some day.
I did manage to get her to go long and low and seek the contact a few times, but only briefly.
We ended with a bit of canter work and she did pretty well, though she did get stuck on the right lead for a bit at the end and "ran away" the first couple times. She really is a nice ride when she's relaxed though and willing and tries hard. I just need to get her to calm down so anyone can ride her without worrying about her nervous energy getting away from her. Wet saddle blankets and time, wet saddle blankets and time. She's better than she was, but isn't where she could be as I haven't had the time for her the last two years. I think I could only really claim one year under saddle for her with as much as she's been worked.
I was going to just dink on Kash a bit, I brought the bareback pad and tacked him up, but he had other ideas. Being left in the trailer for an hour did not settle well with a very active high-energy horse. I ended up swapping out to the saddle to be safe and worked him in trot and canter, small circles, bending, turning, more bending, some shoulders-in, more bending and turning and generally attempting to get him to slow down and listen. Did some side-pass and would have worked him some more, but it was time to get Panda to the vet's for another check. Ola worked the boy that evening and said he did great.
Panda was in heat Friday, though I have to say she is probably the quietest
mare in history. All she really did was lift her tail and she had a 45mm follicle (essentially about ready to ovulate). Most normal mares would be squatting, winking, and a whole array of other things, but Panda? Just a raised tail. Very much not the flirtatious type.
We had the smear and culture done, which were a pretty penny and we should have the first result back by Wednesday and the second one by the end of the week. They should both come back clear as she's well-conformed, young, and a maiden mare, which means we should be clear to take her to the stud in March. Woo!
Saturday both Chris and I worked. I had six lessons, one early, one late morning, and four in the afternoon. The four are new, all siblings, and four lessons in a row is a bit much! We're going to try and split them up, two and two, so they don't end up sitting around for two or so hours while the others do their lessons. The mother said specifically that she (or the kids' grandparents) wanted them to learn Dressage, so Dressage it shall be, as much as I know, but first we have to establish the basics, which will probably take some time. The two younger ones have very little experience and the older two have ridden a little more, but not with much instruction.
Sunday we were heathens and stayed home and relaxed except for a brief trip to the horse park to have a more thorough look around (I've only been to the public section to work horses). There was a gymkahna going on, although they were just running barrels at the time while we were there (gymkahna includes all of the speed events in Western, barrels, poles, keyhole, and several other things I can't recall at the moment). They were doing the peewee group, which included first runs for some kids in which they were lead around the barrels to older kids who actually cantered through it (the best time was around 30 seconds, whereas winning times at the adult level are in the teens). There were some really good, as well as some incredibly tolerant ponies that were packing the kids around. I have to say that I do think that if a kid can't control its horse by him/herself the kid has no business being in a show environment, but that's just me.
There were some good horses, but there were quite a few that were jigging all over and couldn't contain themselves, one of the side affects of speed events in which people don't focus on good horsemanship and just want the fastest time. Thus, I'm not really a fan of speed events.
The park is set up rather nicely, the big covered arena is quite nice and they have four others that are uncovered. The barn has 100 stalls divided up into four sections of 20 stalls. The roof is insulated, which is quite awesome and should keep it cooler during the summer.
It isn't anything like Westworld, though I think that is their goal. They don't have the space yet and none of the other arenas have much in the way of bleachers so your only spot for any amount of spectators is in the covered arena, limiting the number of big classes you can have and the number of spectators. Just the same, it is nice and is a huge step in the right direction.
Today I will go ride with Mom, try and work Jinjer and possibly the boy. The Strudel horse needs some attention too.
And I have come to the conclusion I need to ride more. I've gotten a little tentative and my seat doesn't feel as sure as it should be. I'm far from the five-to-six days a week I rode while working for Judy. I need to ride regularly again. One to improve myself, and two to improve my horses. The third reason is to improve my confidence. It's funny, I'm more calm and at ease when a horse is doing something "stupid" than I am in anticipation of the act happening. I find myself getting annoyed more than anything.
Anyway, time for some breakfast.