Thursday, 28 February 2008

Happy Horse!

This is a little out of date, as I don't have internet access where I am living at the moment, and so am writing on my computer at home, then bringing it in to work to put on my blog. All a bit confusing!

I had such a lovely weekend of riding – this is what owning a horse is all about. On Saturday I went for a hack with my friend and her ex-racehorse. It’s such a shame – she has come to the end of her tether with the standard of care at the yard and is moving her horse at the end of this week. Just as I have come back! I totally sympathise with her though; you have to do what is right for you in terms of livery yards. It was a beautiful day yesterday: the sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold. It was a little windy while we were out, but Echo isn’t really affected by the wind thank goodness!

She felt really pleased to be out again – we haven’t hacked for about a month now, so she was alert and interested. My friend and I had a lot of catching up and gossiping to do, so we spent a good half an hour just in walk, but when we trotted Echo felt balanced and forward-going, which was fantastic. At one point we decided to have a canter and Mojo cantered off from walk. I should have thought about this, as Echo has had some time off and has lost some strength, so is finding her canter transitions a little tricky again. She seems to get worried when the horse in front canters off and she gets stuck in the transition. To combat this, she stands still, puts her head between her legs and bounces repeatedly on the spot!

In the past when this has happened, it worried me and I thought there was something wrong. However, I am starting to see a pattern and have realised that it tends to happen when we don’t trot for a period before going into canter. She gets stuck in a walk/canter transition and so just bucks! It’s as if she can’t get her legs in the right order and she gets in a tangle! My friend stopped and we decided to just trot up the hill. However, once Echo was trotting forward (and as we always get left behind because Mojo’s huge) I decided to ask for the canter transition – she was fine, so I called to my friend and we cantered the rest of the way up the hill!

On Sunday, I rode her in the school and she went really well. It was warm and sunny, which always makes me feel more positive, and it was a joy to be riding my beautiful horse. We worked a lot on the left rein, as she felt a little stiff to begin with. After some walk and trot, I asked her for a canter transition and she struck off on the wrong leg. This hasn’t happened for a while, and I knew exactly what the problem was: I didn’t have enough contact in my right rein, and was relying too much on the inside rein for the bend. Not good! We probably did about 8 incorrect transitions, with me really working on getting her into my right hand in between. In fact, although we kept getting the wrong canter lead, the trot in-between started to feel amazing. Finally, I got her properly working from my inside leg to outside rein, and we got the correct lead. I was exhausted! We did a little work on the right rein, but she was tired and so was I, so I called it a day.
It was such a nice day that I decided to graze her by the school for a while and watch some lessons going on. It was nice for her to get some sun on her back, and some grass, as there is none in her field. She gets a huge mound of hay each night, but she always loves to get some good old-fashioned grass! She seems so relaxed at the yard – I definitely made the right decision moving her back. I am able to go down there and ride, spend some time with her, then go home and get on with other things; it’s making a big difference to my state of mind. She is also loving being back in work again – I think she got bored when I wasn’t riding her – she just generally seems very content with life at the moment.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I am happy to hear that everything worked out for the best. Seems like Echo and her mom are both feeling contented at the moment. Warm weather is coming soon, so there will be many more rides and hacking out will be good for both of you. Have a lovely week.

emma said...

Hacks are such a great therapy for horse and rider. I often vent and chat with my buddies while out hacking and by the end feel totally happy and relaxed. Secret always goes so well outside it makes for an excellent ride. We are supposed to have sunny weather this weekend so I will take advantage of that and hack out sat and sun. :) Happy trails!

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like you had a great time with your horse. That's what it's supposed to all be about.

Daily adventures while training my young horse.