What a way to start off our week! After another spurless Monday lesson where we worked on bending at the jog and strengthening my position with some no stirrup work, Trainer M got on and literally had the best canter she’s ever had on him! It was so balanced and smooth, I was mad I wasn’t on him. 🙂
Tuesday we started our ride off very slow. We stayed at the walk for a good ten minutes. I started out flexing and counterflexing him while we walked on the wall, encouraging him to unlock through his throatlatch. Then we moved onto leg yielding off of the wall (much improved) and making some turns on the haunches. We walked for so long that when we finally jogged, he wanted to go the speed of a sleep deprived snail, LOL.
Once we were properly warmed up, I coaxed Ezhno over to the arena gate so that I could open it without dismounting and we rode to the outdoor arena. I’ll admit to being a bit nervous out in the open… I ended up berating myself for not trusting my horse, since I kept tugging on his face whenever he tried to glance at the turnout paddocks. BAD STEPHANI.
When we got out to the arena he was less interested in our walk/jog work (I can’t blame him since I clung to him the whole way there), but I was still impressed by his ability to switch arenas entirely and then get right back to work.
Wednesday his sluggishness earned him a whack on the butt from my reins during our walk/jog serpentine/circle/leg yield warm up, but then we did THIS:
THAT’S RIGHT, WE CANTERED. I’ll be honest: I grabbed horn a little bit, but at this point whatever gets it done is A OKAY in my book. Trainer M told me to ignore the head toss he does in his transitions (it’s lack of strength, not naughtiness), sit back in the saddle, and just do it. If I just trust my wonderful horse to do his job, everything goes super well—shocking! 😛
What was really surprising, though, was that I had fun. Once I started cantering, I couldn’t stop! I probably did the transition from trot to canter a dozen times. My nerves fell away completely and I was so excited to be back to cantering.
Thursday I came to the barn resolved to do more cantering, the idea being to just keep doing those trot to canter transitions every day until the nerves are gone completely and only the joy is left. So despite an amped up Ezhno and a connection with the bit that kept fizzling in and out, we did half a dozen canter transitions and I came away from the ride feeling pretty good about what we’d accomplished.
It doesn’t matter if it looks bad, we’re doing it anyways!
I didn’t make it out to the barn on Friday, but Ezhno still got a work out, since he’s back in part time training for the next month. He had the ruffle marks from dried sweat on his neck/barrel (looked like maybe he had an encounter with a surcingle? 😮 ) and my stirrups were VERY LONG when I went to get on, so he must have had a ride put on him, too.
If I hadn’t noticed it from the get go, though, I would have guessed from how EXHAUSTED he was.
Ezhno sleep walked his way through our warm up, then refused to canter until he was threatened with a flick of one of my reins. From there he resigned himself to his fate… all ten minutes of it, since I took pity on his poor tired soul and let him be done after the shortest workout ever (but not without a small bit of extended lope down the center line in the outdoor arena 😀 ).
On top of all of our riding excursions, the weather wasn’t as nice as it was the week before, but Ezhno still got some turnout (including the chance to make kissy faces at Traveler, the cute Paint that was in the paddock next to him). I’ve got a plan in the works to increase his outside time ten fold, but until then he’s taking in the sunshine whenever I can get him out into it and we’re taking full advantage of the outdoor arena.