So, the great news is she seems to be doing well. She still has her moments of tension (I swear I watch video and it does NOT look how it feels lol) and anticipating, and that’s where you can see she short steps a little, but the overall consensus is that she’s still doing well.
At times she still seems a little funky, like maybe she pulled a hamstring at one point or something. But, as we rode, it really did seem like she was expecting things to feel uncomfortable. Her walk has been more consistent, her trot, and when I ask her to sit a little more on her haunches in the canter, she really tries and it feels much easier for her. She feels so much better to the right, and even in the span of from Friday to Sunday I could feel that she was a little more comfortable realizing things were easier on that right lead.
Friday’s ride was really good – longer than I expected (same with Saturday and Sunday) but there was a lot of walking in between. I found that with the way I’ve put a few buttons on her for reining, when I put pressure on the outside rein, I’ve taught her to arch her neck and lift her shoulders and turn her nose in a touch while she turns. Which is why her left was always funky – she always turned better to the left, so I never fully enforced it. Now, when I hold more steady pressure on the outside rein to the left, and remind her with my leg, she’s realizing she knows what that is and I’ve had a lot more success with that to the left over the last three days. On the Friday video you can see that as she comes down from the canter, she crossfires first. This is a little bit of a concern for me because she doesn’t do it the left, but then she’s mostly just responding to a verbal cue – there’s no help from me and I haven’t actively taught her to correctly come down from a canter. So that’s another thing I’ll be working on in the future and will take time.
Saturday she was good as well – we had a few other issues, but it was more that she just wouldn’t listen to my voice or seat for cues and would just take off expecting me to ask her to canter or trot when I wanted something else. We worked on that for a time until she relaxed, but looking at how she was traveling she was still good, and all the other aspects related to the injection were positive. Our canter work was by far the best on Saturday – a few things seemed to click so nicely buuuuuuut it was really difficult to replicate Sunday (of course lol).
Our best ride was on Sunday, still working on getting her to wait for my cues (but she was much better!) and she felt really nice. Not as lofty and bouncy when going slower, but I’ve noticed no strange hitch when we switch direction since the injection. She’s been the same both sides, improving on the previously tough aspects of left trot and right canter. She’s been able to stay in frame better and for longer, and while that frame is low for now, I’m pleased that she can do it. I also didn’t give her the verbal cue for slowing to a trot, and she felt much better. It wasn’t pretty, but there wasn’t crossfiring or a weird hitch so I’m going to keep working on that. After that ride, we headed out for a small walk about the property, and that really helped her mind, I think. Plus, a roll for the excellent ride, and she was a happy girl.
I of course need to ride better and put my stirrups back down. I feel like the shorter stirrups help me when her trot gets really bouncy (because I seriously can’t even post a very bouncy trot well) and that it would help if I actually sat a bit straighter, but I know that when I canter, I feel like I’m trying to replicate the trot feeling and I’m just sitting on the back of the saddle and not in the middle where I’m supposed to. It doesn’t help that the saddle flaps allow my knees to creep up and sit me back, but I just need to plug away watching videos and improving with the help of the videos my mom takes (god bless her!). My hands need to be fixed for sure, but hey, my elbows haven’t been flapping horribly! Baby steps lol.
If you guys would like to torture yourselves and watch 15 minutes of our rides Friday and Sunday, then please tune in below. Please forgive my riding at times – body parts have minds of their own, I swear. But, I don’t think we look half bad, and I’m super proud of her for all her tries. Heart of gold, this little girl.
Plus, she still seems to be tracking those hind feet into her front footprints more often than not!
So, I’m going to stick with my verdict of waiting to see how this turns out. Time is such a huge factor with horses that while I’m so relieved she’s shown improvement in the past few days adding more work, that only time will tell if this was the issue or if something else may need to be done. She’s been doing good things I haven’t seen her do in a while, she’s been feeling better, and it could have been the un-dragged arena and tension that caused a bit of shortness but overall, I think we’re on the upswing (knocking furiously on wood). Yay for progress!