Sunday, June 28, 2009

Forward First!

When I brought Maisie in yesterday from her 5 hours of grazing (yeah! she'll be out for 6 hours tomorrow and then all day - I'm hoping we've got the laminitis beat for now) I rode her. It was very hot and humid, and the sun was pretty fierce too. We only worked at the walk, since it was our second ride in over a month and we need to start over with our conditioning.

We worked in the arena (just dragged by the long-suffering husband). I set up ground poles at various points around the ring, leaving Maisie standing at one end - as always, she stood there patiently and watched me, no matter how far away I went - I never really taught her to do this but just ask her and she does it. Our ride, which only lasted about 15 minutes, focussed on walking forward with nice even steps, using focal points - poles and cones - to keep us straight, and on softening at the walk - when we had trouble with this we worked on softening in the back-up. A couple of times in back, she gave me the "rush the feet backwards with head in correct position but braced" and we had to keep backing all the way down the arena until she gave me a couple of steps of true soft backing, then I released. After that, she would back slowly and softly with nice two-beat diagonal foot falls.

Once she was walking well, with softness in head, neck and body, on the straight line, we worked on making circles and serpentines, incorporating the poles as well. We had some trouble maintaining softness in the turns - she would want to fall onto the forehand and brace into my hands. The problem was that we didn't have enough impulsion from behind - forward first! We worked for a bit on maintaining our forward walk into and through the turns, and that helped. She's still stiffer bending to the right - this is usual for her - I clearly need to be working on her carrot stretches, particularly to the right, and it may be time for a visit with the chiropractor, who hasn't worked on her since before the winter.

After we were done, we took a brief trail ride, which was refreshing. Trot work next!

Today is a busy day - I hitched up the trailer last night, and this morning we're loading all Lily and Norman's supplies for their trip - hay, papers, etc. Lily definitely needs a bath - but then she always does!, and then we load up early tomorrow morning and my daughter and husband leave for Tennessee.


  1. Good luck to your daughter and Lily and Norman on their trip. Maisie sounds like she is doing well!

  2. Maisie sounds like she's coming along well. Good traveling to the whole entourage on their trip to Tennessee.

  3. Wow, it makes me relieved to hear that I'm not the only one who does 15 minute rides when I feel I've really accomplished something, despite the short amount of time. Maisie sounds like she's doing great. If you don't mind taking a request, would you do a post on the softening exercises you do? I'm interested in learning more about that.

  4. Short and sweet says it all sometimes. When the horse accomplishes something you've been striving for, why keep going? Maybe do the exercise once more to be sure it really happened and then call it day. The horse leaves the arena will a feeling of success and plenty of praise and isn't so tired the whole thing is just remembered as an ordeal.

    Good safe trip to Norman, Lily, and the two legged members of their family.

  5. I love a short and productive ride myself!

    I hope all goes well tomorrow :)

  6. Hope Norman and Lily have a safe trip to their new home. Looks like a beautiful place!

  7. Hi Kate,
    Prayers for safe travel! Great exercises for Maisie! Yes, it's not the duration of time but always ending on a positive note and keeping things simple that matters most! I'm sorry I missed your blog with the award! I've never done this before so I'll give it a try tomorrow.
    Thanks! Luanne

  8. I love that Maisie will stand there while you do other things! Just like my Lilly! It is a very handy trait I think.
    Don't you hate riding in hot and humid weather! Blecch!


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