I ride a 13 year old (well, 13 in June) KWPN mare named Osine. I just got her less than a month ago and we're still working out kinks here and there and getting to know each other. Progress is slow, but every time we tackle a hurdle together (no pun intended) it is oh so satisfying :)
This week is exam week at my school, which basically means lots of studying and very little sleep. I managed to fit in a horseback riding lesson today, even though I have my chemistry exam tomorrow (yeesh, still need to finish studying that...!). Today was... interesting!
I took my Algebra II exam this morning, and it was a joke. So easy. Good way to start off the week.
Then I headed over to the barn (experiencing heavy traffic, what a drag). Osine was turned out this morning but she didn't give me her separation anxiety antics as I brought her in, which was a relief.
One of the bats that lives in the barn (yes, bats; they are unpleasant to think about but do keep the flies away!) fell into her water bucket in her stall, which was disgusting. It wasn't totally in the water, just like sitting on the side of the bucket having a drink. It was nasty. And it just sat there. Yuck. Hector is going to take the bucket, dump it, and clean it reaaaallllllyyyy good. Thank God for Hector :)
Well, I digress.
We went out to the ring for our lesson and walked around so she could see everything. For some reason she's still a little looky at things around the ring, such as the ponies in the paddock next to it, some kids' toys, and a bush. Don't ask me about the bush, but she haaates that bush.
She was okay after walking around so we trotted. I've been working on learning how to bend her and get her in a frame. It's slow going, but when I feel her lighten up and really take the bit and flex her poll, it's wonderful! Though, those moments when I actually ask correctly are somewhat rare... :roll:
We've been having some trouble with our right lead lately. Osine's very well schooled and sensitive, so I have to be really careful in my movements and body. This is good, so I'll learn how to ride better, but frustrating when I do something wrong. As a 13 year old, Osine's joints are a bit sticky on her right side. They were rated 1's, which isn't bad or anything, but she has some trouble with them every now and then. She has really great lead changes and would rather just swap leads than bend right. My trainer got on her after we had some trouble and observed how much she had to over-ride her right to keep the swap from happening.
So, basically, I need to make myself strong enough to hold her in that right lead canter, and we're going to work more with Osine on her right lead to strengthen her there. Plus, she just started her supplements on Saturday so they should help relieve any funkiness she's feeling and make her feel better and more able to hold that right lead.
Whoo, so much blabbering, and I haven't even gotten to jumping!
We planned on working on adding and taking away strides today, something that seems simple but really needs to be understood. I needed to get a feel of how much I needed to collect Osine in order to take away strides. We started off a bit rough-- I had trouble holding her enough to fit in an extra stride. She has this uncanny ability to talk me into taking that long spot at the last minute!
But, after a few more tries I was able to take away the stide smoothly, add it back in, and then take it away again.
However, we switched the jumps to verticals going the other direction (keep in mind because we were just doing this as an exercise, not as a course, the jumps were somewhere around 2' and hardly intimidating) and things went a bit nutty.
We cantered into the line nice and easy, though at the last few stides she sped up. Osine normally does this, though, since the jumps excite her, so I thought, no biggy I'll just get her back in the line. WELL. That did not happen. She pretty much galloped through the four strides and massively overjumped the second jump (I'm talking as though it were 3'3, not 2') I went with her, which was surprising, but then she galloped blindly around the ring.
The thing about Osine when she takes off (well, this is the first time, but still) is that she's totally non-threatening. She's not trying to DO anything, she's just... going fast! So I actually stayed really calm and got her back and it was fine. I felt her kind of tense under me while we walked for a second but I got her back to being relaxed and we said, hm, let's try that again.
I should interject that the jumps were going toward her paddock and some other paddocks, though I'm not sure if that had anything to do with her behavior?
We cantered in again and though the first jump was very nice and quiet, she flew through in the middle again, totally overjumped the second vertical, and cantered blindly around the ring.
I got her back once again and said, what the heck, Osine?
So my instructor told me to trot in while she stood in the middle of the line. I'd halt in the middle, then trot the second jump and halt again.
Oh, and we changed the jumps back to crossrails.
She did this nicely. We then trotted in, but did not halt in the middle, and halted at the end with my instructor standing there.
Again, this went nicely.
Then, we trotted in, cantered out, and halted without my instructor. Osine was harder to stop but still maintained a nice pace throughout and halted neatly afterward.
Then, the jumps were changed to verticals and we trotted in cantered out and halted. She did this fine.
So in conclusion, I'm not sure what freaked her out. Could it have been that she was spooked by the other horses? There were some in the paddock but they had been there the entire lesson. Though maybe because we were going towards them where she could see them?
Or was she even scared? I'm more tempted to believe she was just excited to be jumping verticals (she ALWAYS perks up when we jump, esp. When oxers or even verticals are involved!) and was fresh because she hadn't been ridden in a few days.
Any thoughts, anyone?
Well, this has been painfully long. If anyone actually braved through it, I send my deepest apologies.
Now, back to chemistry... Oh, how I hate quantum numbers!
Happy riding, everyone!