I did this for a week:
And this is what they did for a week:
FM on the left, Scottie on the right
(YES, it is extremely muddy and gross in their turnout. It's spring in Louisiana... I don't know what to say! Can't wait for it to dry out!)
Prior to spring break, I had started cantering Scottie. I had waited for a long time before cantering her under saddle because 1) she really wasn't fit and I wanted to build some stamina, 2) I wanted her knee to heal a little more, and 3) honestly, I can be a little bit of a chickensh*t.
The first time I cantered her, I really just kind of cowboy kicked her into it. She is pretty mellow and just kind of trotted faster and faster until I kicked her. Once she realized what I wanted, she was totally fine. She didn't offer to buck or anything goofy. She couldn't carry herself (and me) around the corners (i.e., short ends of the arena) counterclockwise, but she could balance fine going the way of the track. She blew her leads a few times, but I wasn't worried too much about leads... Just wanted her going FORWARD.
Over that week, I cantered her just a little bit every time I rode her, and she got to the point that she can carry herself both directions on the correct lead, even if she is a little spastic. Although she has gotten straighter at a walk and trot, her canter is still a little wonky on the long sides of the arena (i.e., crooked, weird bending outside or inside). Counterclockwise, she really locks her jaw to the inside at the canter.
The day I left for spring break, I wasn't being clear enough with my cues, and she got crooked on on the corner before the long end and actually swapped her lead. She then proceeded to crowhop down the entire long side of the arena. However, after I growled at her and picked her up, she had a LOVELY forward, organized canter in both directions?!?! Go figure.
I haven't had too much time to work with her this week, but I am starting dressage lessons with her this weekend. Now that I am comfortable at the green broke walk, trot, canter, circle, pole level, I really want to work on softening her. She is pretty stiff through the neck and jaw, and doesn't give to the bit at all. I also want some refreshers on how to utilize my aids to achieve the correct bending and suppleness.
Here is a picture of Scottie eating grass to insert because I don't have any new pictures to share for this blog and reading a lot of text sucks without pictures.
In general, I do NOT like dressage (prefer jumping!!!!), but I think that a solid foundation in dressage work is essential for any working horse, and since she is right off the track, I will have to be the one to work with her. Previous horses that I have owned already came with some of the tools in their toolkit. I am not planning on winning any dressage competitions, but having a soft, long/low, supple, and adjustable horse will make her more functional at any sport, and make her more marketable. Plus its been a while since I've had a lesson, and my riding will benefit by working through these issues with her. I really need to try and get some video this weekend.
In other news, mom got me 101 Jumping Exercises (lots of pole work/arena ideas), which I am excited to start incorporating into my rides.
Book available here