This weekend was a bit of an odd one. I didn’t do much and it went by too fast, but that’s generally how it goes, right? lol. Saturday morning was a bit tense because it seemed Choco was having a few problems. She was moving her leg funny and seemed a bit out of sorts for her usual perky self, and my mom and I surmised that perhaps it had been the teensy bit of milk I gave her that morning. Which then I felt really bad, and opted to leave her at the house to make sure she was feeling better (she was by dinner time but not like her usual self so I still wanted to have her stay at her most familiar place). By the next morning she was her usual self so that was a note – no more milk for the doxie.
I had a hunch for Amber, so Saturday I decided to put Amber’s English stuff on again. I had my one ECP contoured xc pad that was shimmable, so I put all available shims in it to pad up the shoulders. I left the thickest shim in the rear panels for some cushion since while Amber’s shoulders have lost muscle, her back won’t ever get narrower. It just remains a table. I also put on her breastplate and tightened it to help keep the saddle forward and used her passage girth instead of the kavalkade. All of this seemed to do the trick – no unpleasant faces or clicking her teeth together like last time – she looked exactly as she always has. Once I hopped on I could immediately tell the difference. She was forward, ears pricked, super happy to be out walking. I felt bad for not realizing sooner, but sometimes it takes a little while.
So Saturday was a weird day with that but I hopped on Whisper and did some cantering with her as a prep for Sunday. She’s been a bit “behind” recently – not in work but in behind the leg and not wanting to work. Part of it my mom and I think is that just in the past few days she’s been working herself up again in her stall – pacing and pacing but then having no energy for when we actually go to work. It’s a new thing for Whisper to not want to work, but we think between her pacing and then wanting to stay close to Amber when we ride on weekends has been affecting a few things. She was resistant to my leg at first because “I didn’t think we worked near Amber!” but came around quickly and did a few canters and circles and hopped off.
Sunday was a good riding day too – Amber was tacked up western and again very happy to be out and walking with ears pricked. I rode Whisper first, and ended up putting English stuff on her! Since I was planning to use a lot more bit contact, I like to switch to a snaffle instead of her usual shank bit. I wanted to put English on her tho since I can feel better what her body is doing. She was absolutely unhappy about starting to work immediately lol. Silly girl! I worked a lot on her turn on the haunches both directions. She gets a little stuck and wants to move her haunches instead of her shoulders away from the pressure. It’s hard work – a turn on the inside hind requires a lot of suppleness from the body and a forward momentum. And Whisper was not forward lol. But the turns really helped her to think about getting off of my neck rein and my leg, so that when I went to work on her steering at the lope, it was quite a bit easier. It’s not that she doesn’t steer or can’t – it’s just not finessed like it is at the jog.
Especially going on the right lead, Whisper doesn’t like to turn away from the rail. I think a lot of it is her old habits from previous never-leave-the-rail training, so we’re chipping away at that. It’s just uneducation, and what she doesn’t understand is that if she’s collected turning is so much easier! lol The lightbulb has finally gone off in her brain for her right lead canter that my mom and I are so so happy about. For a few weeks now she’s had the pace and rhythm and just overall great collection on the left lead, and it’s finally clicked to the right as well! So Sunday I just worked on steering, sometimes just trying to steer gently off a neck rein and once in a (large) spiral at the canter, really getting her to collect up and realize that steering is so much easier when one is not inverted lol.
She did get upset – she’s not used to having very thinky/intense types of rides. But I was super proud of her in that as I continued to praise her with my voice and a scratch on the wither, while I could tell she was still upset she was still trying hard to do what I was asking and to remain calm. Huge leaps for her. The turns helped immensely in getting her off of my leg, and it’s only a matter of time before she really gets her turns down.
Monday, just to make sure everything was good and Whisper wasn’t too upset with me I hopped back on her western for a quick ride. Because she’d had a few harder days recently, I gave her a full body massage first. She absolutely loved it! I finally got Equilab to try so I wanted to try that for our ride – and then forgot haha. Either way, Whisper was great. Her turns were great, and her steering to the left was good. While it wasn’t as good or collected to the right, she was trying hard and maintained pace. We probably rode a grand total of 5 minutes, but it was a great 5 minutes and I was super proud of her.
Today Amber gets a bath in preparation for her going up to the vet Wednesday. It’s going to be so weird not to have her for 4-5 days, but I know she’ll be well-cared for. She was when she got her tooth done. Hopefully I’ll get to go see her Thursday after work and then find out how everything went! I’m excited to finally be getting this done but now super nervous too lol. Hopefully it’s all good news!