Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015: Time to be a real dressage pony

Today was a good day! It was a long cold day, but a good day. I got to Ashland at 11 with both boys to meet Cindy to check saddle fit. Fleck's needing some more wool but were doing well. And the jump one fit Dan well. Then we got to dressage saddles for Dan. Sigh... nothing seemed to be working well. Then on a whim, we put my dressage saddle on him. I thought it would be too narrow for him but Cindy really liked it on him. She said it fit him well enough and we'd just keep an eye on it. YAY for not having to buy a new dressage saddle for him. And Yay that he gets to wear brown too. :) Whoo hooo.

So then I jumped Fleck and Dan hung out in the trailer. Afterwards, I left them both tied to the trailer while I went to watch some of Sarah's lesson. After a bit, I headed back because it was getting so cold! It wasn't too bad riding Fleck but the wind picked up and the temps started dropping and I wasn't working, so it got cold. It was a good thing I headed back because Dan had managed to slip his lead from his halter. He pulled back a few days ago because Fleck was chewing on him and that made him step towards me. I didn't realize Fleck was chewing on him and smacked him forward back into Fleck. We ping ponged back a few times before Danny decided to just back out of the situation. He didn't break the halter but the ring snap ring opened up, so even though I wrenched it shut again, it's loose enough that his lead will slip out. I had forgotten that when I tied them both to the trailer and went with Beth to XC. So it was a good thing I came back when I did because Dan had slipped out and was meandering around, eating grass. He came right to me though. Of course then when I was trying to fix his halter the porta-potty people came and freaked him out. And so I lost him and he went galloping around the parking area. Sigh. He let me catch him easily enough and I put his rope halter on him instead. I tacked him up and decided to lunge him before our lesson. The wind was really whipping and Danny was dancing on the end of the lead rope at first. I honestly was a little worried about getting on him. It was just so windy and really not ideal conditions for a 3.5 year old. :) I lunged him for about 15 to 20 minutes and while he was squirty a few times, he was paying attention and was good. I decided then it was probably fine to get on. So I hopped on and we walked around for about 5 minutes and then Beth was finished with Sarah. She wanted me to come down to the warm up area of the ring so that he was a bit more confined (so he had a 20 meter plus circle rather than a full standard sized arena). As soon as we did that, Dan got to scooting. Every time we hit the one side of the arena, he's drop a shoulder and scoot. Once he almost lost me but that's because we changed directions. So we immediately put him to work on a small circle and within 4 circles he forgot about. Then he was great!!!

We worked on connection and riding him up to the bit. I didn't have a heavy connection but tried to keep a soft feel. I especially had the feel on the outside rein and was sponging the inside rein and working on the connection and inside leg to outside rein. Dan was allowed to wiggle because he was figuring it out. We're changing the rules from black and white to suddenly all sorts of shades of gray. But he was getting the hang of it. As long as he was in general vicinity of "not inverted and not flinging", he got soft quiet hands. If he was inverted or flinging, then I was sponging and gently riding him with my leg into the reins. He was getting the hang of it. At the end we even did smaller circles and he was turning just off my inside leg and outside rein aids. Yay! He showed glimpses of a fancy proper dressage horse. :) whooo hoo.

We quit with that because then Lucy pulled up and I figured I had pushed my luck long enough. Considering the weather (crispy cold and dropping AND gusts of wind), he was a VERY good boy. yay!! And I liked my saddle on him and he seemed quite happy in it. I'll buy the Logic girth from Barbara because that really seemed to help him out. And he got a new bridle for Christmas so... he'll be outfitted well. :)

So proud of the goofball! I love his brain. Sure.. he was a bit sassy, but not naughty and if you work him through it, he settles quite quickly and nicely. :)

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