Sunday, July 12, 2009

Maisie is Marvelous!

Yesterday was a beautiful day - mixed sun and clouds, mid-70s and a nice stiff breeze to keep the flies and mosquitos away. I brought Maisie in from the pasture a bit early, and after a nice, relaxing grooming, we went to work.

My first objective was to be sure forward was well established - no slow steps! I worked at timing my cues with her hind legs so she would step well under herself at the walk. We did a few laps of the arena on a loose rein, and then worked on our softening at the walk while doing circles, serpentines and changes of rein. She softened very well and was stepping nicely under, and we did some nice transitions to halt, and back up to walk, and also some reinbacks. On the circles and serpentines, and in the corners, I worked on bringing her from my inside leg to outside rein while maintaining an appropriate bend. She tends to want to pop her shoulder out when we bend to the left - so I worked on maintaining my outside rein to prevent that. To the right, she is less bendable so I used more inside leg. She responded beautifully! I do need to do some massage on her shoulders and neck and do our carrot stretches to improve her flexibility to the right. It's also been a long time since she's seen the chiropractor (who used to virtually live at our barn with all the issues Maisie used to have), and it may be time for a visit.

Then we moved to trot. We did some long-and-low work to get her energized and forward, and stretching her topline. Then we worked on softening at the trot, and pretty much the same types of things we were working on at the walk. We're not working on lengthening and shortening stride yet - I want her to be somewhat more fit. She did exceptionally well again! Her impulsion is still not where I want it to be, but she's just getting back into work. We also did some trot to walk and walk to trot transitions. Since the impulsion isn't quite there yet, I concentrated on riding forward into the downward transition, as well as the upwards one. She started out falling a bit forward onto the bit as we transitioned downward, so we worked on improving that. I incorporated some reinbacks into the sequence to help her with this. We didn't get all the way to where I want her to be, but without a fit hind end I can't expect that of her yet. She did lighten up, so we stopped there.

Then, as a reward, since Maisie likes to go on the trail, we went for a nice, relaxing trail ride. The bugs, for a change, weren't bad, and we even did a loop through some woods that we've been avoiding lately because the bugs have been so bad. All in all, Maisie is marvelous!

6 comments:

  1. Great for Maisie to have her feet under her again! It would appear both of you are healing well :]

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  2. Glad you and Maisie had a good time together. It's so nice when the weather and bugs cooperate, that makes the whole experience even better.

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  3. Sounds as if you had a really nice day for a ride and a great time. Seconds on what Jon said. :)

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  4. Sounds like both of you are feeling better!

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  5. My compliments on a super training session with Maisie. Sounds to me as if you used all the right exercises. Long and low is perfect and working on the transitions, super.

    You can start to add a bit of lateral work to help get her even more flexible and supple. One of my former trainers felt it was important to do leg yields and such with older horses to keep them flexible, so I have always incorporated them into my legging up programs.

    Glad the bugs were at bay, especially in the woods! I bet Maisie was one happy camper on that trail ride!!

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  6. Sounds like an excellent session! The impulsion will come as she gets fitter and more able to sustain that level of athleticism.

    It's always a good trail ride when the bugs take a hiatus!

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