Yesterday morning we rode western again. I’m a little protective of her at the moment because looking at the way she landed after that little mishap looks like she may have strained the front tendon on her left front. Of course, this is me googling anatomy in the search to not freak myself out since – again – she’s so stoic that I want to make sure she’s feeling okay. Her eyes continue to look alert, though. Looking back at the photos of Tuesday her eyes did look a little lower, so her alert eyes are promising. Since then she still feels a bit tired, but the looseness of her stride is feeling better.
So we westerned again Thursday morning, a quick ride, but I think it was important for the both of us to switch gears a little. This let her get very relaxed and do her favored slow jog. The slow work actually felt like it really really benefited her muscles, too. Her walk felt more fluid after, but it was slower, and I really just wanted to work the stiffness out.
It was also good because it showed a few developing holes that I need to keep track of. With the reins slack I noticed she got pretty wiggly – letting her shoulder fall in then out and then looking at something and her body just goes that way. It’s easier for her to keep her shoulders straight when she has contact and reins on either side outlining the boundaries. But I think it’s important for her to find and also be responsible for her own straightness. So we worked on that a little.
I think in part it’s also a matter of her understanding there’s a job to be done in western as well. She’s gotten into the rhythm and mindset that English tack and contact is work and business, and it was actually a good realization for me. By riding western yesterday, I could tell that her focus was really a bit everywhere, whereas recently with English she’s building a focus-business relationship the more we’ve been working towards a goal with it.
Come September through November I’m actually quite excited to show in our local shows, even if most of those classes are more HUS than what we’re aiming for. It will still be good experience for us both. I’m still very excited about continuing our English progress, but it was good to sit western again. I still want to also show her in the reining and ranch riding classes for a potential buckle at the end of the year, but I don’t think I’ll be campaigning with the determination I thought I would. She’s doing really well with English so far, and I don’t want to confuse her too much!
For now, though, we’ll take stock of each day and see where we are by the time the shows come.