I wasn’t sure what else to name this post. It’s mostly about Amber’s desire for food and the mini ditch we found. Pretty simple.
After getting off work at 5 I hurried out to grab a nice hack. I spent some time stretching her hind end, and I could tell it was the right exercise to do. Before, when I’d done them she’d stretched no problem, but she was still tight and it took a bit for her to relax in to them, but once she did I could tell she walked better for sure. So it was time to saddle up and head out there in our obnoxiously matching things.
I was taking a bit of a gamble since she’s been wired recently and it’s been linked to dusk, but I figured this was totally different from arena work and to give it a shot. No round and round, no “real work” – just a nice walk outside where it’s always been pleasant. She was actually really good. I wasn’t expecting her to be bad, but just not as confident as she is when it’s bright and sunny. She walked out really nicely, and perked up when she realized we were going for a hack. It almost felt as if the time of night didn’t bother her.
What did bother her was the fact that Whisper wasn’t missing her. She kept looking over at her like “Don’t you realize I’m gone?!” Whisper did, but was busy with alfalfa. Sorry Amber. Looks like alfalfa is preferred to you. So we kept walking along our usual path. I didn’t deviate much since it was beginning to darken and I didn’t want to make her too worried or to potentially have an issue when this was supposed to be a good change of pace and to help her relax (cause it didn’t work last time).
The house in the picture above is on the way back to barn, and the people have dirt bikes and ATVs so it’s softened the ground and gotten rid of a lot of those tiny rocks, so I took that moment of her wanting to jig as well as freaking power walking to work on our medium walk. Our free walk is a non-issue; she’s really great at that. But you take a hold a hold of the reins and she collects and does this really nice slow walk. You know, if you want her to walk that slow. Which for dressage not really. So with her thinking very forward, I thought perhaps with the contact she might get more nervous but if it didn’t work I’d play around with it some other time.
She didn’t want to the first time, evading a bit and jigging a bit just as I thought, but when I put my leg on her, after a few seconds she obediently put her head into contact for me. Held it just enough for her to be relatively in frame but thinking forward and released. It actually worked super well and I did that for a few strides here and there until I could do it for a bit longer. I was a bit surprised how responsive she was, but also very happy it was turning into a good ride.
Since the people in that house had dirt bikes, they’d made this little ditch. I’d passed by it before, and suddenly had the thought that evening that we should walk over it. She did with a teensy hop the first time without much encouragement. Unfortunately, she crow-hopped afterward. I yelled at her “No! We don’t do that on cross country!” aaaaaaand brought the people’s dogs over to start barking. It’s my karma for laughing at Remus’ little bucks with Michele earlier in the day.
We “hopped” the ditch a few more times since after that first one I wanted one without bucking (crow hopping, sorry; she’s never bucked under saddle lol) and then the next few tries she was like IT’S A BLACK HOLE MOTHER I CANNOT. Which was really just her staring down into the ditch sniffing it and trying to see if she could go to the side. Super refusing horse right there. And the ditch is maybe like 6 inches deep and like 8 inches wide? Very tiny. But she hopped it every time! The last one we did was still a hop, but it only took a slight nudge from my heels before she went over so we continued on. Plus, I think the barking dogs were getting on her nerves so it was good to continue.
After that she could see the barn, and started jogging a bit, so it was a good time to do some small circles and practice pushing her into the outside rein. Once she realized this was what we were doing, the jigging stopped. We got back no problem, with her happy and it hadn’t gotten quite dusk yet so that was a win. My mom was mixing some meds for Whisper, and her brain was suddenly back on food.
You know, because this horse is obviously starving. We never feed her.
All in all, a good ride!