The drop in temperature over the last couple of days meant that Echo was somewhat feistier than usual today! I had been a little worried about her last week, as she had some swelling in her right foreleg on and off for a week or two. It got to the stage where I was considering calling the vet to do a scan, as although she didn't seem to be lame on it, it didn't go down for ages.
After a day off in the field and plenty of cold-hosing, as well as using witch hazel and arnica gel on it daily, it seemed to be OK today. I rode her for about 40 minutes and it didn't seem to be swollen at all afterwards. My thinking is that it is probably a slightly tweaked ligament, probably caused by her slightly dishing action. Since her feet became poor quality earlier this year, her right foot has turned in slightly, causing her to dish and I assume this must put some strain on the leg as she is just starting work. The dish is not considerable, and my farrier is working to correct the problem with the foot, so these shouldn't be permanent problems.
Echo settled well today, after her initial feeling that she didn't want to concentrate, and she would rather look at everything around her and find things to shy at! I worked on some serpentines in trot, constantly changing the place that we circled, moving around the arena all the time. This made her concentrate and I then introduced some poles every now and again. She doesn't have a great deal of respect for poles, and tends to crash into them unless I set her up exactly on the right stride!
She has started to bend beautifully to the left; this is typical, as I have just booked a physio to come and look at her. I think I will keep the appointment, as it will be good to check everything is as it should be. In fact, we have worked so hard on the left rein that the right is now more difficult!
What is very exciting is that there is a Dutch grand prix dressage trainer coming to our yard to do a clinic this weekend. As he is teaching in hour long slots, I am going to try and have a lesson with him on Echo. We will not be able to do a full hour, and in fact will probably only do half of that time, but it will be interesting to get some expert guidance on what I am doing with her. I feel very lost without the advice of my old boss when riding a young horse, so it will be fantastic to have somebody tell me what to do! However, it will test our partnership, as it will be the most demanding thing we have done together so far.
We have been starting to canter this week. A few days ago I asked for canter on the right rein (as this is her naturally better rein) and she was very good - a little unsure that I really wanted her to canter, but willing to go forward. Today, once she had settled in trot and was listening to me, I asked for canter on the left rein; it was a very messy transition (as you'd expect) but she was very forward going and kept cantering past the gate (our napping days seem to be over - touch wood!). She does tend to flop back into trot afterwards, and then is unable to do anything afterwards, but this will come I'm sure.
I must upload some more photos, as she looks very different in her work now - she is starting to feel like a dressage horse! I must also do more hacking and make the most of the weather, as she is so good that it will be tempting to push her too hard. I must remember she is only three!