Friday: Well, I thought I could ride....APRIL FOOL'S!! It snowed ALL day...8 inches by the end of it. IT'S FREAKIN' APRIL!
Saturday: Rode Mackenzie for about an hour...just walking patterns and doing some transitions...a pretty easy ride. She was stubborn and a little spooky about the snow falling, but it was still so good to get out there and ride!!
Today: Rode for about an hour and a half total. Frustrating start...but ended well and was fairly productive overall I think. First I tried to take her for a trail ride, she left the barn okay...but got to a certain part of road and would NOT go further. I spun her for a good ten minutes and she just was not going....I got off and walked her down the road a ways, then walked her back to the arena and rode her for an hour there, doing a lot of transitions, and circles. I worked a lot on getting her balanced on her circles, keeping her flexed in the correct direction, etc. Overall she was fantastic! She didn't buck, only bolted once...due to rustling leaves. At the end I let the reins rest on her neck and rode doing arm circles and exercises...she was soooo good staying at a walk and being good for me!!!
Friday: Rode in the arena because I'm lame when I don't have a real saddle! :( She was good, did some trotting but chose not to canter yet...I don't remember anything significant to say
Saturday: Finally beautiful weather and I couldn't resist a trail ride! Rode for about an hour and a half on the trail...riding on a bareback pad is harder when the terrain is rough!! It was so much fun, though...so happy that she was good!!! When I first turned her toward home she threw a fit, throwing her head up at me and trying to bolt. I smacked her head and spun her when she put it down...then jumped off. I walked beside her, making her stop and back up every few steps, then got back on once I found a rock and rode the rest of the way home. She was so good!!! I know "smacking" a horse on top of the head doesn't sound good, but she was tossing her head right in my face and I kinda let her hit my hand almost like she would have hit my face, except I did give my hand a little momentum...then again, it's softer than my teeth anyway. So glad we made it out on trail...and I'm on a serious saddle search now! A SADDLE MANHUNT!!
The saddle is incredibly comfortable!! I'm so thrilled, it was $1000 on sale...usual price is around $1400 I believe.
The other day I rode for the first time with more than other horse....didn't go so well. Mac was a complete nutcase the entire ride, and just about ripped my arms off. I spent the entire ride one-rein stopping her and trying not to let her bolt through everyone. UGH...not sure about competing this year...I'm going to have to try some more group rides and see if I can get her over this.
Today I had a great ride...alone of course :) I rode her for an hour and used my GPS watch for speed and distance. We did about 5 miles. Her nice working trot that I enjoy for long periods of time is about 7 mph, her fast anxious trot is 9.5 mph. Not bad...seems like so much more of a difference between the two when I ride her, though.
I've been getting some good riding time in lately :) I had a clinic saturday, which was amazing!!! We did groundwork all morning and riding in the afternoon, and all for only $50 each. We did a lot of bending and lateral work, disengaging the hindquarters, turn on the haunches and forehand, rollbacks, etc. I got some great advice on overall training methods and on my specific difficulties with Mac as well :) with her bolting to the front in groups, he suggested something completely opposite of what I've been trying to do. His advice was to let her make the mistake (let her go on a loose rein all the way to the front) and then, once she's up there, make her work HARD. We did tiny figure 8s....lateral bend and disengage hindquarters, then go off, then repeat in opposite direction, and keep going until she chills....it seemed to work really well.
SOooooo it has been almost a year since I've updated this....I guess I just no longer had to seek constant improvement or advice....ever since that clinic that I mentioned above, Mac has been AMAZING. She started on a steady improvement after the clinic, and I took her on a TON of large group trail rides last year, which she did great with. She was a little spazzy the first few times, but settled in wonderfully! Then we hit our one-year mark too, which I think marked the complete end of our monstrous battles. Don't get me wrong....we still have disagreements, but they are much shorter and less frustrating. I think we finally understand each other enough to be a pretty cohesive team. I'm soooo proud of her progress....I've even had a few complete beginners on her and she was so good and careful!
Now I need to work on her canter. It is UGLY. Her trot is amazing, and she's getting a little more flexible, but she goes straight from trot to gallop. When she does try to canter, she often counter-canters, and will end up "bunny hopping" with her back legs(back legs striking together).....grr.