Saturday, June 24, 2017

Working in Rehab

I'm officially on summer vacation and so hopefully my life will start to mellow out so that I'll have more time to ride and write blog posts. That being said, so far summer has not at all been mellow. I've been busy doing things every day.

My rides with Casey have been mostly uneventful. We've finally gotten to resume our 10 minutes of trotting at a time (thank goodness) and it'll be another 4 weeks of that before our next vet recheck.
So many trot circles
This last week the major issue that we were dealing with was Casey's bad attitude.  I don't know what came over her, but she was really being bratty for a few days (Trainer thinks she must have been in heat).We spent an entire ride one day just spooking from one spot of the arena to another (and she does't normally spook - she was just being a jerk). She's since come out of that attitude and now is back to being her sweet self.
Working at that trot
We've been working on translating leg yielding into more complex maneuvers like shoulders-in and haunches-in with some minor successes. At this point, Casey is now responsive to my leg, but she still lags a bit when I ask her to move her booty over. I've taken to starting our rides with a dressage whip, since she is always the most sticky at the beginning of our rides. If she starts to get really laggy with her back end, I just nudge her butt over with the dressage whip. I think part of the struggle is that Casey really only thinks about her front end when she is moving. This is why she gets so heavy on the forehand when I ride her and why she is kind of klutzy in her paddock. So this is something we need to keep working on.
Working at shoulder-in
Working at haunches-in
The other big thing that we've been working on is trying to get lengthening and back-end-power in the trot. On Wednesday, when I was riding Casey, I went into two-point for a couple of laps at a trot (just to strengthen my core a bit). I noticed though that Casey started to really lengthen her stride and started pushing off her back legs. When I encouraged this I got the most powerful feeling trot that I've ever gotten from her. Of course I wasn't recording my ride that day, and every day since I've been trying to recreate that trot, but haven't been able to get it again. However, we are getting really close. Her stride is lengthening, but she's getting heavy on the forehand, rather than really using her butt. We're going to keep working on this, but that fact that she was able to do it once makes me hopeful that she can do it again.
Trying to get that powerful trot
In addition to those things we are continuing to work on the basics of bending, responsiveness, and trying to use the lightest possible aids. Gotta say, at this point in rehab I'm super bored. All I want to do is canter and jump things. I feel like we can't get anywhere in our progress with just 10 minutes of trotting - we'll be working at something, like lengthening, and will just be getting somewhere when the timer goes off and we have to stop. So frustrating.
She's so photogenic!
Even though I'm starting to get bored, I also have been so grateful for Casey. A year ago is when I first started working with her and when I think about the things that we are doing now versus where we started, it's mind-blowing. She was so green and so wild, so the fact that we can be working on complicated questions, like lengthening and leg yielding, is really exciting. We've gotten so in tune with each other, we can read each other's actions before they even happen. That's amazing to me.
Love this mare

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