Not too much happening here in Amber Land. I also didn’t get many pictures of this weekend, so yeah sorry about that. I kept the western tack on for the weekend, thinking it would help reset her mind, and it did indeed help.
She definitely knows when she has different tack on – such a smart girl! But this was also a really good weekend and time in our training to step back and really objectively assess our progess in English when we had to do a different discipline with different expectations. It also helped me get a good idea of the potential of doing both English and western at the upcoming shows. I don’t want too much confusion for the poor pony.
But again, going western has alerted me to things that she is really starting to understand. Like the fact that she is no longer pushing her neck down when I take contact on her. I unfortunately realized what she did after I told her to lower her neck (of course), but then I just tried to come up with a new plan. Also that when I give her free rein, she’s totally faking her lift and her butt under her. I had to work a bit at the jog to remind her that loose rein does not mean let’s get heavy on the forehand. She was also straighter on Saturday, which was great, and that doing all of these different things (needing to turn quickly for “jumps”, needing to lift and be soft for dressage) has really helped her western. It’s helped with her steering and overall balance, too. I really love cross training. I think it’s so important for every discipline.
I wore my English spurs since my lower left leg is prone to flop like a mofo when I ride western, and I didn’t want to accidentally poke her with her western spurs. She likes her new rounded spurs just fine with western, too, so yay. But we finally cantered after giving her an easy week, and I think it really helped her that I just left her alone. I tried a bit to just remind her we didn’t have to go so fast and to lift, and she really tried to come right back when I asked and then I’d let go and let her keep going.
We did some reining things, like a mild spin and a few “rollbacks”, and she was definitely tuned in to me for that. Sweet thing even tried to slide for me, which if she’d had sliders on would have actually been a pretty okay stop. But, I don’t want to her slide on account of her hocks, and also she tries so much to do it for me but I can tell she’s not that fond of it. So I just worked with her on a nice use-your-butt-but-it’s-okay-to-keep-all-4-feet-moving kind of stop that she aced to the left but still tried to slide a bit to the right.
It’s really funny to be on top for both disciplines because looking at her when I’m English is so different than when I look at her from above western. Her head feels a little low English, but then when I look down western it’s too high. So I just let her lope on Saturday without interfering much, and I was just chuckling at myself that her neck looked so different based on the different discipline I rode. Again though, it was nice to see that we’re on the right track of her not lowering her neck when the contact comes. It really feels like she tries to go up to meet the contact which is very promising to me. And again since I’m not going to campaign hard for the western buckle, I’m not going to mess with different head positions. Just so long as she’s forward and pushing from her butt, I’m happy.
We also had a friend volunteer to help us with digging our trench for electric. The ponies cared a couple times, but for the most part they were very chill about the whole thing. Hopefully this week we can get the electric into the barn! The neighbor’s son is absolutely in love with Amber. He’s only in second grade, but he gets so excited to see her. He also loves scratching her, which of course is Amber’s favorite thing ever. As shown in the picture above, she demanded pets of anyone who was nearby.
Sunday we went for another hack, and I desperately wish I could at least trot her around here. We crossed a few logs, but until I can either get easy boots or get in contact with those that have xc courses we’re stuck with walking for a bit. She wasn’t the biggest fan of it yesterday since we went to a different area but was still pretty good about the whole thing. It’s good to see that when she needs to focus on something involving her feet getting over the obstacle, she was super focused, but when we just walk around and there’s nothing challenging for her to think about she’s focusing on where Whisper is.
But it was actually a really nice day that had intermittent cloud cover but with a good breeze so your sweat was actually able to cool you down. Or in this case, my waterlogged sleeves and shirt helped me stay cool. We rocked our PS of Sweden polos again, which seriously I need to trim those things. They’re just so long and she has short legs.
It’s pretty cute though because as my mom pointed out, she looks so different based on the tack she’s wearing. She mentioned that Amber looks like one of those fat but super adorable hunter ponies when she’s English, and like a gorgeous foundation QH with her western on. Of course with the clause that she’s adorable and gorgeous in both, but I totally agree with her. I think she looks a bit like 2 different horses as well!
But she still continues to lose weight which is great. I’ve cut back her food a little while still trying to maintain that she always has food in front of her. She’ll go a few hours sometimes without food in front of her, but I personally think her having food in front of her as much as possible relieves stress. She also hasn’t been bolting her food down anymore, and will eat when she’s hungry. Some days there’s a lot of food around, and others she cleans it up.
Today or tomorrow we’ll go back to English and work on our dressage. It was so beneficial to that last Saturday when we’d worked on it all week before going to poles. She’s been a little stumbly recently, and she’s due for a shoeing. Unfortunately the farrier can’t come out until next week, so while I want to actually raise one or two poles Saturday, it’ll probably have to wait until next weekend. We’re still working on it though!