Sunday, September 24, 2017

Power Pony

My rides with Casey this week have been awesome. Ever since the vet cleared her for "regular" work I've been riding her without any sedation (Ace), because I really feel uncomfortable sedating my horse on a regular basis (note: for those who missed that, vet told me to Ace Casey throughout rehab so that she wouldn't act out and re-injure herself). Casey has been amazing! Even though she can't be free-lunged or anything to get the crazies out, she's being super well-behaved under saddle. The other day she was annoyed at me for not letting her canter RIGHT THIS SECOND, but rather than have a meltdown over it, she just tossed her head once to show she was mad and carried on normally. So her behavior I would grade at an A+ right now. It's especially shocking though because the weather has been crazy lately and she hasn't been reactive from that.
Flying Casey
Our rides right now consist of twenty minutes warm-up/cool-down walk, fifteen minutes of trot, and five minutes of canter. I usually switch up the order a bit on a daily basis so that Casey doesn't try to anticipate what comes next. Some days I'll break the trot into five minutes segments, other days we'll do ten and then five. I also try to mix up when we canter. Sometimes we canter at the end of the of all of the trot, others we canter in between some of the trot. This works out pretty well because it is keeping both Casey and I from becoming bored. It doesn't seem like it would be that long of a workout, but when all of the walk-breaks to catch our breath are factored in, that ride takes us about an hour to get through.
Eden is our little arena guest
For our trot work, we've spent this week focusing on relaxation. I'm really encouraging Casey to get her head down low and release the tension from her back. Because she is not being Aced I can feel a lot of tension in her, I think just because she is so excited. When she starts to get overly worked-up we work on lots of bending circles, because that calms her busy mind. We've taken a bit of a break from trot extension, because she is so excitable that it just would lead to us battling about what speed we should go at.
For our canter work, we are really just working on building up our stamina. Five minutes shouldn't be a lot, but because we haven't been able to canter for so long, we're both dying by the end. Part of the problem is that we are just out of shape, but the other factor is that all of us (horses and humans) have a lot of lung damage from all of the forest fire smoke that we inhaled this past month. According to my trainer, on the days that the smoke was bad, the damage is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes in a day. Not sure where she got that fact, but from how much my lungs hurt, I'd believe it.
Such a sassy tail
Although we are lacking in stamina, Casey feels like she's got her engine back. The first couple of laps at the canter she feels speedy, controlled, and powerful. It's amazing to feel that again because it's been a long time. Of course, after we've been cantering for a while, she loses all of that power, but the more we keep working on building up our strength, the more power I feel from her.

All in all, I'm feeling super impressed with my horse. She's really the best and I feel lucky to have her :)

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