Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An Overview of Casey: A Year Later

About a year ago I wrote a blog post in which I evaluated Casey; her strengths and her weaknesses. A friend of mine recently pointed out how much Casey and I have improved since I first bought her and I really have to agree. She's almost like a different horse than the wild thing I brought out of the pasture a year ago. So I pulled out the post from a year ago to make a thorough comparison.

Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016

On Ground Manners

What I said: "Casey is very good at walking on a lead rope. She walks at my speed and doesn't pull." & "She will stand at the cross ties without trying to destroy things."
What I say now: For the most part, I stand by this. We had a really bad couple of weeks in the middle of the summer, when rehab was really making her stir-crazy, but overall she's pretty well-behaved on the ground. Recently we've been trying to work on ground tying in the cross tie area and it's actually going pretty well (although the other day she was picking up brushes with her mouth).

What I said: "Casey's one fault in her ground manners is that ... she will paw at the ground."
What I say now: Well, I failed at training this out of her, because she definitely still will paw at the ground. The difference is that now she knows that I'll get mad at her for it and so it doesn't take nearly as much energy on my part to make her stop. I can just glare at her and say, "Casey..." and she'll put the hoof down.

Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016

On Rideability (Flat)

What I said: "Casey can have a very nice relaxed walk." & "She is very talented at trotting." & "Casey has both of her canter leads down and picks up the correct lead about 95% of the time."
What I say now: The Dressage Queen at my barn complimented Casey's walk so we all know that it really is as good as I thought it was. She is still talented at trotting, much more so now that she is balanced in that gait. She almost always picks up her correct canter lead (if she doesn't, it's always my fault for not setting it up correctly) and she does flying lead changes (though we don't school those yet). So yeah, her gaits were good then, but now they are fab.

What I said: "She is very sensitive ... she is so responsive" & "She does not at all understand what leg pressure means."
What I say now: Still super sensitive & responsive and it's 100% a good thing because she is pretty trainable. The difference is that now she is more educated on what different aids mean and so I can actually get what I want instead of her trying to guess what I want (she now understands leg pressure for instance).
Top: Summer 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016

What I said: "Casey may like to go fast, but she is not a dangerous horse. She only spooks if she has a valid reason to, she has never reared, and she has never bucked (I don't even know if she is capable of bucking)."
What I say now: HAHA that was all lies. To be fair, I still think she's not a "dangerous" horse in that she doesn't try to hurt people, BUT she has reared on me once and has bucked many, many times. Of course I haven't fallen off of any of those bucks (knock on all available wood surfaces) so that's probably why I don't consider her to be dangerous.

What I said: "She struggles at bending." & "She tends to fall in at the corners and just has trouble maintaining the canter." & "Casey needs to continue to build strength and muscle. She is very heavy on the forehand and just needs to become more balanced."
What I say now: This is by far the biggest improvement that I see in Casey. She is so strong and powerful now. Things like bending are starting to come naturally to her, she is able to balance in all gaits, and she is no longer on the forehand at all times (this will always be a work in progress in my opinion though). Even though we were in rehab for five months and on a reduced workload, she still is infinitely stronger and more balanced than she used to be.
Top:Summer 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016 (flipped)

On Talent

What I said: "She is super talented at jumping ... the highest we have jumped is 2'6"." & "She is not a stopper or a run-outer. She is brave and honest."
What I say now: She definitely proved that she was super talented at jumping over the past year. We jumped a 3'3" oxer as our largest jump. We were doing 2'9" courses before the suspensory injury. I did learn that she will run-out of a bigger jump if I don't seem confident & support her, but I wouldn't call her a run-outer, because if I'm riding like crap it's my fault that the jump didn't happen. I would say that I still haven't even seen her true scope and talent yet because of the injury, so I'm excited to see where we'll go from here.

What I said: "She is just a bit of a speed demon."
What I say now: There is no denying that Casey loves her speed, but at this point her go-to move isn't to try to fly around the arena. She will go fast if I let me, oh believe me, she'll go fast, but for the most part she's pretty ok with going at the speed I want. When we are jumping, the speed demon comes out a bit, but even then it's not nearly as bad as it used to be.
Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016

On Personality

What I said: "She is super duper cuddly. She loves people and loves attentions and is a total ham."
What I say now: This is still 1000% accurate. She does love her cuddles. I think Jin might be her favorite person ever (even though he doesn't even know how to interact with her). Every time he comes to the barn with me it's a struggle to get Casey to focus on work because she just wants to stand next to him and get face scratches.

What I said: "She is very good at throwing temper tantrums when I ask her to do something she thinks is unreasonable" & "likes to put her tongue over the bit."
What I say now: Casey is still the queen of temper tantrums. She has all of the opinions, all of the time and is not shy about expressing them. For a long time the tantrums revolved around bit issues and we haven't had that problem in a long while (but I'd better never lose the magical bit that she loves). Now I can tell when she is in a mood and will usually change my plans to avoid meltdowns. I can usually avoid them happening at all if I can get her really focused on something else, and when they do happen I know how to deal with them to make her knock it off.
Top: Spring 2017
Bottom: Summer 2016

I decided not to address the goals that I had made a year ago, because I'm going to start doing my goals around New Years, although I have a lot to say about those as well!

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