January 18, 2009

Sunday with the kids

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isis_head.jpgSunday morning was the weekly riding lesson. My last riding lesson was last Sunday and it went well. Unfortunately, my back hurt so much the morning after I had to stay home from work.

Last night, I went to the company holiday party. Three hours of walking around in heels plus moving boxes out of my storage unit meant my back was a mess this morning. I took 400 mg of ibuprofen and rubbed my back down with sports cream before going out to the barn.

I warned my instructor that I might not be up to much riding before my lesson. We decided to focus just on walking and getting Isis to whoa.

Well, Isis had other ideas. I don’t know if it was the drop in temperature, because she is coming into heat, or what. I walked Isis once around the dressage arena and Isis immediately started her bouncy I-wanna-go-fast trot. I corrected her a few times by circling. Unfortunately, Isis was not calming down. I couldn’t ride like that today because of my back.

It is nice to have the option to have the instructor give the horse a lesson. 🙂 Isis was hyper. My instructor, Tish, rode Isis for 45 minutes at a trot and canter, just trying to get Isis to calm down. Just when Isis was really starting to work, Max and his owner came out for their lesson. Isis started up all over again.

We did learn some valuable lessons. When Isis is hyper, she should be lunged before being ridden. I used to free lunge her a lot at the barn in Tennesse, and that always helped. One lady who lives up the hill from the barn has a ring. If she will let me use it, then Isis can have some free lunging and riding time. It’s in the middle of the woods — I’m not sure if that will create more boogers or keep her calm.

When Isis is hyper, trying to slow her down just pisses her off. The best bet is to work on gradually slowing the pace and getting her attention. Getting her to bend forces her to slow down and pay attention.

When she is paying attention and focused, she is very light in the bridle and a delight to ride. When she is not paying attention, she pulls and fights — and is very frustrating for all parties. So looks like we are back to trying to get her to consistently pay attention to me.

This lesson was the first time Tish cantered Isis (both by Isis rushing into the canter and from Tish asking Isis to canter). Tish loved Isis’ canter and trot (when Isis actually did a good working trot). After the lesson, I told Tish that Isis’ sire had been ridden second level and had won championships at first level. Tish said that she could definitely see that. She said that Isis has the gaits for it — and also that Isis is so smart it might be good for her to be started at a higher level than Training level because she’ll be bored (!!).

DSCN0941.JPGAfter the riding lesson, I went over to see Kasane. My sister was supposed to be at the apartment at 3:30 and I knew I was going to be late. (About that time I realized I had left my cell phone at home.) I cleaned out Kasane’s feet and worked with her for about 10 minutes in the big arena. Kasane did walk and trot with me leading from both sides. Good progress, overall, except she is not consistent when asked to whoa.

Kasane reared for the second time since I’ve had her. Not a full rear-and-strike, more like a rock back, off the fore legs to let me know she wasn’t happy. I was leading her from her left side and was gently pushing her away from me because she was crowding me. She also tried to swing her rump around to avoid me when I asked for a whoa. She got pissy and tried to start trotting. I calmly asked her to walk, and she didn’t want to. So I gave a cue to whoa with the crop in front of her chest as a barrier and gently pulled on the halter. She bounced back onto her haunches and then reared, but did not strike out. She was not trying to hurt me: it was a display of frustration. I growled at her, she came down, and we continued on as if nothing had happened. This is the second time she has done something like this. Both times it was because she was pissy. She’s also coming into heat.

Overall it was a good session (rearing aside). She’s settled down and is responding well — when I can get and keep her attention.

I got home about 20 minutes late. Luckily my sister has a key and let her self in, so she wasn’t waiting for me. Sisters who are massage therapists RULE! She was a doll and gave me a massage. My back felt worlds better after that.

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