There’s something both terribly satisfying and downright disgusting about currying a horse that’s more mud than fur. Last week was filled with on and off rain, so there were a lot of days where I turned Ezhno out during a brief period of sun and he came back in looking like a professional mud monster.
Monday‘s lesson was a return to the Circle of Death (8 rails version), albeit with half of the arena blocked off by the clinician who was teaching lessons after his weekend clinic. We warmed up off the rail and then took turns trotting the circle while posting in our two point. Then we did posting trot around the circle with one stirrup gone (and switching halfway through). It was a big leg work out day, but Ezhno did way better at the Circle of Death than last time! He was very coordinated and I barely had to worry about him, so I could focus on myself.
Monday night he had a rough training ride, so on Tuesday he was still holding a grudge. He was fussing with the bit, locking up, refusing to give… it was so frustrating! We got some cantering in, but it didn’t take long for me to give up. We rode outside instead and went over to see the giant metal weather vane type thing we have in the middle of the track. He was terrified of it at first (he spooked when it was still halfway across the field, lol), but once he got to touch it a couple of times he was okay with it.
The Trainer lunged Ezhno with side reins before my lesson on Wednesday, which vastly improved his stiffness. We went back to our fight over giving to the bit. I took almost all of the rein and pushed him into the trot, then rewarded him with a release when he gave. The goal was to keep my hand still while driving with my leg. It was very slow progress and we only had some minor improvements at the trot and the canter. We had better results on Thursday (which I wrote about here).
On Friday the Trainer asked me to put a schooling ride on Belle! She gave Jump Lesson Buddy some sass during her lesson on Thursday and she’d also been acting up with her 9 year old Friday rider, so it was time for a little bit of an attitude adjustment. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy to have to work in frame and with softness—things were going okay (if a bit tail swishy) when she tried to buck me off into the wall. I ended up with scratches on my forearm (and a new appreciation for a more defensive position) from having to shove myself back into the saddle mid buck. I lunged her out, got back on, rode through a couple more bucks, and then worked her for a while. I left her vastly improved, but not totally disarmed… darn the Pony! We’ll have to have a rematch another day…
My legs were tired out by the time I got to Ezhno, so he got to have a walk/trot only ride on Friday. He felt way better (the Trainer said she worked some things out with him Thursday night), so we just did a lot of circles, bends, etc. He was glad to have a lazy day, and then he got to have Saturday off and an easy ride on Sunday with the drill team.