January 20, 2015
Mom Comes to Visit Dani
My mom came out on Sunday to see Dani and I. The snow had finally melted in most riding areas but there were still muddy patches. I rode in the arena so my mom could hang out with us. She'd had a knee surgery in the early summer and hasn't been doing as well as she'd hope. She uses a cane and gets around quite well but I still provided a chair for her while I rode.
Dani and I are both out of practice with riding really. This has been the first weekend in a long time I've had lots of pony time. I haven't ridden a lot in November and December because of time and weather. We had not trotted in a while either and after observing some of the footing in the arena I found some spots I was comfortable trotting my girl. That is something we need to work on, the trot. Rating her to have a nice medium trot is my goal. She has a big trot, great for the carriage that she was trained on as a youngster. Great for traveling many miles if we were to do that but I just want a nice little trot I can ride comfortably to and maybe someday even sit the trot. She speeds up and then will overcompensate and go back to a walk when I try to rate her speed. We just both need to work on it and I need to figure out just the right amount of pressure to slow her down but not SLOW her down. Headset is another issue with the trot and I think will help with her pace too. I don't need her in a perfect dressage frame but a little less hollowed out would be helpful.
Another thing that Dani seemed to do was anticipate. The first place I asked her to trot she kept getting ready to trot there whenever we reached that area. I tried to make sure I wasn't sending her any misguided cues. I think a trot and walk and trot and walk session would be good for us. My mother enjoyed watching us and seeing her Grand-horse.
Another minor issue I've been working on with Dani is the cinching. I think there have been a couple times where I maybe tightened a little too fast and since Dani has always been cinchy this just increased her sensitivity. I've worked with a little bit of "pressure and release" technique. I would pull the girth under her and hold it until she stopped moving about, rinse and repeat. I'm taking every step much slower. We have to realize that sometimes we don't pay as much attention to how fast we do things around horses and they can be very sensitive to it. She'll always have the issue I think but as long as I treat her softly and don't tighten too fast she is fine. Don't know how I caused this little relapse since I've always taken my time and tightened several times over many minutes while tacking up but it only takes a little change to upset dear ponies.
I'm very glad that it doesn't take much to get Dani back where she needs to be with most issues. I've been pleased with her and the mounting block. If you all remember I've had issues in the past when I first got her. One thing I'd like to really work on though is getting her to move to the block a little more. Right now I get her next to it and then since it's movable I re-position it. It's definitely better to mount that way for the horse since there is less torque on her back. I still need to make sure I can get on normally so I'll have to switch it up sometimes in practice.
Still very happy that my mare is compliant and sweet as always. My mother spoiled her with an apple and then the silly pony was digging in her pockets the rest of the time. I do warn people! It was a great day to be out at the barn with the pony. The days between weekends are so long with not being able to see her. The time change is coming up though!! Can't wait!!