With the amount of posting (or lack thereof) I've been doing lately, you'd think that something was wrong. Alas, just lack of time to post.
First off: is anyone else's horse blowing their summer coat? This is what I got when I curried Saga tonight:
I didn't get to ride over the weekend due to the weather and life - even though we have a covered arena, we got so much rain that the arena was flooded. However, I managed to ride tonight and last night, namely because I have a lesson tomorrow night and I don't want to look like an idiot on a maniacal horse that hasn't been ridden for a week!
So a couple of things I have learned. I used to warm Cash up with a lot of WTC on a loose rein to let him move out and stretch, and so I continued that with Saga. Due to the arena still being wet and having a horse that's been in a stall for 7 days now, I didn't feel that warming Saga up on a loose rein at anything more than a walk was a good plan. He has a tendency to throw his head when he's feeling uppity, and after all the time in, he was feeling pretty uppity! So, I kept my loose rein warm up to a walk, but made it really long. Then I picked up the reins and got him moving away from my leg, really concentrating on keeping him from counter-flexing when going right, and not letting him twist his head when going left.
After a LOT of walk work, I picked up the trot. Joan really concentrated on me keeping him bent all the time last week, so I really focused on that as well. We had some absolutely lovely moments, and I'm getting much better about keeping him straight and really giving him time to change reins and bending on our changes of direction. Tonight they were especially good, and I worked on keeping the forward even when I sat for one beat to change posting diagonals.
To the right, he's going so much better than even just a week ago. He's moving off my leg, he's not counter-flexed on the long sides in the trot. We're getting more laterals (shoulder in and leg yield) than ever. With the walk-trot transitions, I really have to keep him bent right to keep him from hopping into it, otherwise he counter-flexes and hops. To the left, the issue is that he tips his nose to the left and tilts his head. I'm trying to keep a very steady outside rein (my right hand is not as good an outside rein as my left, even though I'm right-handed) and LET GO with my inside hand, all the while asking for bend through the body with the inside leg. When I remember to stop hanging on the inside rein, it's really nice... otherwise, we're really crooked. However, the walk-trot transitions are better when we're going to the left.
The canter remains unblanced, but the transitions up are getting more precise with every ride. The downward transititions are improving too, as long as I remember to ride not only the transition but also the first five steps after, instead of going "YAY! I got the transition!" and then forgetting to ride anything else until I try to fix the disasterous trot. Gotta remember to ride every step and not wait for the problems to happen!
So, tomorrow night, hopefully another lesson. If not (since the arena still has wet patches), then I will head out to ride anyway. I need to send in my entry for Hy Court Farms schooling dressage in two weeks (ok, a week and a half... EEEK!) and oh, I need to hope that my idiot horse doesn't find any more ways to damage himself in his stall. Seriously. This is what he did to himself in the last 24 hours:
I looked over his stall and couldn't find anything, but the barn owner wrapped his buckets and a few other things, so hopefully he won't find any new ways to damage himself. At least he didn't get a part of his face where the bridle goes.
Oh and speaking of bridles, one last thing. I've been riding him in Cash's old Happy Mouth snaffle sort of accidently (I left his regular bridle at home after cleaning it, and the only bit I had at the barn was the Happy Mouth). Last night and tonight, I noticed a good bit of foamy stuff on his mouth. Either he really likes that bit or he's starting to relax and work his jaw more - maybe a little of both? At some point I will switch back to his metal bit (it's the exact same bit, just stainless) and see if he's still drooling. If not, then I think I'll use the Happy Mouth for dressage. I don't need any more bit, that's for sure, so if he likes it, I think we'll use it.