Thursday, 17 September 2020

A Daily Dose

 Phantom had her hocks injected about 4 weeks ago at a vet exam where I said I suspected it was either her hocks that were sore and she was overloading her front end, or she was sore everywhere.

She definitely looked better after the vet appointment. Much less stompy on her front end. But she still didn't feel as good as I had hoped she would. 

I've let her loose in the arena a couple of times recently to get rid of some energy and I really wasn't happy with how she looked. To me, it still looked like she was trying to unload her hind end, and there were a few transitions from canter to trot that looked like they stung (specifically on the left hind).

While waiting for Phantom's Ventipulmin to kick in I dumped my grooming kit out to clean out the hair. I forgot there was an open pack of elastics in there. Oops.

So this weekend I started her on some Previcox. I had gotten some at the vet appointment to have and see if it helped her over the colder months in the winter when she always seems to be stiffer.

Two days of Previcox and I rode on the third - Phantom felt fantastic. Probably the best she's felt in the last couple of years.

We had easy bend in both directions and she wasn't falling onto her left shoulder through turns. I braced for the downward canter/trot transition expecting it to be ugly but she stepped right underneath herself with her left hind.

I also had a whole lotta sassy speed to deal with. Girlfriend was feeling good!

It might not look like it but this is her sassy walk.

I didn't do too much - she hasn't "worked" in a while and I don't want to tempt fate with her ending up sore somewhere else. Plus she just rides up and gets herself all wound up as I continue riding. With her, it's better to do some short rides until she's been ridden down enough to keep her brain from spinning. 

So it looks like this might be the way we are going to go with her. Last week my vet had sent an email to follow-up with how Phantom is doing after her appointment so I finally replied back with how she felt on Previcox. I asked if I should be spending money to try to fully investigate where she feels sore (which could just be peeling back layers of an onion) or, if a daily dose of Previcox works, do we just go with it? That's what my inclination would be, especially knowing how much my horse dislikes being uncomfortable. I really don't want to have to inject all the things on her body.


My homemade horse cookies work great as pill pockets. Break it in half, and it's soft enough inside to squish the pill in there and then squish the two halves back together to feed. I don't know if Phantom realized there was a pill in there - or she didn't care because it was encased in pony crack!

Phantom's "moar pony crack cookies" face. (This is old - we don't have snow yet!)

Hopefully, this continues past the first ride. It's always hard to tell when there is a bit of extra fuel injection propelling them forward!



Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Baby Got Buck

 In Cisco's first three years under saddle, all legs stayed in the appropriate position relative to the ground. Until last night, that is.

The arena had a line of poles across it to split it into two sections for the lessons that were happening when I first got on. By the time I got to cantering Ciso, they were done and I saw an exercise to do using said poles. Basically, we'd canter a circle over the furthest pole at about 30 meters, then the next pole at about 20 meters, then the middle pole at about 15 meters.

To the right - our mutually better direction - it all went very well. I saw all our distances and the turns weren't too bad. 

He's not suddenly a yellow horse - it was the sun!


And then we went left.

Left lead canter is Cisco's weaker side. If he finds something difficult, he just kind of goes "ooh, this is hard" and just gives up and breaks to trot instead of pushing through it. I'm sure that the fact that I don't ride as well this direction has absolutely nothing to do with this problem.

For this particular ride, I was carrying a short jump crop instead of my normal dressage whip as I was hoping to do some 2 point work. I also kept losing my left stirrup - I think my girth may have needed to go up a hole so it was slipping a bit to the right. For whatever reason, I wasn't feeling as secure in the saddle as I usually do. I was also not terribly energetic after lazing around at home for the first two days of my vacation and not eating very well.

We made the first pole of the exercise without issue - a little long maybe, but not too bad. Continued around the circle back to the track and Cisco gave up and dropped back to trot. Grr. 

I regrouped and started again. And again he put on the breaks at the same spot. More grr. 

Came around one more time. I was ready for a fight this time.

He dropped back to trot. I asked nicely to keep going. He ignored me. I dug in both of my spurs and growled at him. And he bucked. Three times. 

I ride in the smallest spurs known to man. He was not abused.

I've long suspected that there's a buck in there. There's been a couple of times that I've gotten after him and his hind end felt a bit lighter, but he's never actually done it. I've also wondered how big a buck he would have, as I've seen some pretty good bronc bucks when he's loose. His leaping through the air kind of bucks are also pretty impressive.

Thankfully, my reins were short enough that he didn't get his head down, so his bucks really weren't all that big. They didn't knock me out of position at all. It just felt like he really rounded his back up under my seat.

Cisco got hauled up, a single spank, and we set off to do the exercise again. Which he completed without stopping. Apparently we both got our point across.

After we finished the canter I realized that my leg was sore again. I don't know if having to use my sticky butt grip caused the pain or not. So I didn't get to really push the canter issue and try again. 

The kittens are getting bigger and more active. No less cute thankfully!

I had taken my Pixio out with me but I didn't set it up because the arena was a bit of a gong show when I had entered it. So no video evidence dammit!



Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Made Better by Kittens

 My car was easily fixed last week. We replaced the battery and it started right away. I took it over to the shop and had them run a parasitic draw test to make sure that something wasn't drawing battery power when it shouldn't be and it came back clean, so hopefully it will continue to start without issue.

I hopped on Phantom on Thursday night with my fingers crossed that she would feel sound after watching her on Sunday (she looked not so sound). She surprisingly didn't feel too bad! Unfortunately, despite having some Ventipulmin, she was coughing. She hasn't had a cough in over a year. I'm not sure what changed, but it has been windy so maybe some pollen was flying around? I did just enough trot to see how she felt and then we went for a walk outside. Watching the sun set was a nice way to end the evening.


The other bit of good news is that my groin injury is getting better. Very slowly, but it's definitely better. The bad news is that I gave myself a new injury by doing the stretches for my old injury. Somehow I've managed to do something to my left side and it hurts when I take a half deep breath. 

Yep, I'm getting old.

This will put an kink in my riding plans for a few days. It's feeling slightly better, not as much of a stabby pain. But a belch, hiccup or yawn definitely results in a wince. 

Thus I didn't ride on Saturday. The kids got to play in the arena together instead. Cisco showed some impressive airs above the ground - well, impressive to me. Not so impressive to Phantom, who was decidedly not impressed.

I finally got him a big boy nice halter. A barnmate was selling this practically new halter for a great price so I snapped it up!

I did ride on Sunday though. I hopped on Cisco with the plan of just walking, but I wanted him to walk with his head stretching down. Kind of a fake head down, not into a proper connection, but just reaching down. We've done this before, but it's been a while. 

He was pretty good. It helped that there were others riding with us so he was more relaxed than he would have been if we were by ourselves. He was so good at a walk that I thought I'd try it at a trot. 

It mostly continued at the trot. As we approached the scary end, his head would come up and I could feel him thinking of dropping his shoulder and diving to the inside to cut the end of the arena off early, so I had to shorten my reins and pick up the contact again. But in the rest of the arena he was good about dropping his head and staying relaxed. 

The trot brought out one issue that is usually masked by riding with contact - my horse is very wiggly. Apparently I need to do more work on a loose rein. 

This week was also made better by the barn kittens that have finally come out of their hiding spot. They were born at the beginning of August to a mom who is feral (she stays in the barn but won't let anyone touch her). There are five kittens, all different colours, and they are absolutely adorable. Everyone is working really hard to make sure that they are comfortable with humans.



And no, I have definitely not named my favourite one. Nope, I've definitely not named him Wembley, and no, he definitely did not seem to look at me when I definitely didn't say that name out loud. 


Monday, 31 August 2020

It Was a Crap Week

 I haven't really been affected by the disaster that the year 2020 is turning out to be. Up until now, the worst was that I had my workweek cut down to 4 days for about six weeks, but because of a"danger pay" increase and being able to claim lieu or vacation days it didn't really affect my paycheques.

I could blame my pulled groin that has limited my riding over the last few months on the 2020 gods, but that would be pushing it.

Last week was a crap week though.

It started inauspiciously on Wednesday morning. I picked up a bagel at Canada's favourite chain of coffee shops on my way out to the barn - 4 cheese toasted with butter. Due to my medication, I couldn't eat it right away, so it sat wrapped on the seat next to me until I was halfway out to the barn on the highway. When I opened it I thought that the butter looked different today - yeah, it wasn't butter. It was something syrupy - maple syrup maybe? Whatever it was, it was inedible.

Since I was going to ride, I needed to eat. So I drove past the turnoff to the barn into the next town. The first two places I tried had drive-thru lines so long that I couldn't even get into the parking lot. Yes, I could have gone inside if there were any parking spots (there weren't at one place) but I was in a rush and pretty pissed at my morning. So I ended up with KFC at 11 o'clock in the morning. 

I didn't have the best ride on Cisco, it was just an OK ride. I was in a rush because I had physiotherapy in the afternoon and was late getting to the barn due to the bagel fiasco. But I got there and everything worked out.



I also rode on Thursday and Friday. First time I've ridden three days in a row in a couple of months. Thursday was just a walk ride on Cisco around the yard. We haven't done much outside in a while because of the mosquitos in the evenings so it was a good break for him. He didn't lose his shit for once at the leopard appaloosa stallion that always runs the fence behind the trees when people ride down the driveway. He did go splat at a pigeon in the ditch that flapped up next to him and that really hurt my leg and I thought my ride might be done after only 2 minutes, but it got better and I wasn't really sore by the end.

On Friday evening I rode Phantom. She felt better than she did the previous ride, but I was a bit too sore to do much with her. We did a quick w/t/c and then headed outside for a walk. Still no bugs so she stayed happy.



And then my car wouldn't start.

Thankfully someone who lives at the barn is a mechanic of some sort so he helped my jump start it and I got home without issue. But now it won't start again. I bought a battery charger and charged it, and have tried to jump start it with the same power pack that we used on Friday night. It won't turn over. 

Thus my day off this week will be waiting for a tow truck to pull it out of my garage and take it to the shop.

I found out on Saturday that my right-hand person at work is leaving at the end of this week because she is moving to another province. We're just getting ready to head into our busy season. That's going to hurt.

I was telling her about how crappy my week was and joked at least no one has died. Then I remembered that one of the barn girls had just had a bad car accident (thankfully she walked away from it though) - she hit a deer on the highway and rolled her car three or four times. Her pretty well brand new car. 

I enjoy seeing all the baby Belgians on my way out to the barn. They've gotten so big over the summer!

At least, the horses have been without issue through this week. 

Or have they?

Sunday morning was cold and windy. I had to be out at the barn at 10 am to teach a lesson. I hadn't slept well (stress) and my stomach started bothering me. I had every intention of riding when I went out in the morning but when the time came I just wanted to go home and curl up on the couch. 

I grabbed both horses and put them in the arena for a quick play.  Cisco really wanted to be silly but Phantom didn't - because she was lame.

Not real lame, but definitely there. She had a couple of stumbles on her left hind and seemed worse afterwards. 

I fed them and went home. I was done.

Hopefully, getting my car towed isn't a pain in the ass and the repair isn't stupidly expensive, and Phantom's lameness is magically fixed the warmer weather of this week.

Also, it would be really nice if no one claimed the 14 million dollar 50/50 draw from my hockey team that it took them three weeks to actually draw because there was a huge clusterfuck from online ticket sales, and that they redrew the number and I won. 

A girl can dream, right?

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Bit Fitting Webinar

 A couple of days ago, my national equestrian federation, Equestrian Canada, hosted a free webinar called Bit Fitting the Dressage Horse. It was presented by a Lantra certified Bit Fitter.

This is a topic that I've long been interested in so I quickly signed up for it. The fact that it was free and I could count it towards the development requirement of my instructor's certification certainly helped with the decision!

It wasn't quite what I was hoping for, in that she wouldn't give any suggestions for bits for specific scenarios. She said it was because she would need to see the specifics of the horse's mouth anatomy and how they went in their current bit before she could make any suggestions. 

Thus, the information was some basic info. However, there were a few takeaways.

  • The horse only needs to salivate enough to lubricate the bit
  • There is no scientific proof that different metals (ie. sweet iron) increase salivation. It is a marketing claim.
  •  Copper alloys (Sensogan, Aurigan, Salox Gold) were developed specifically for bitting. They are a medium-density metal, which has some softness to it (if chewed on the horse will make marks on it which can be buffed out, unlike stainless steel, which is a hard metal).
  • Leather bits need to be pre-soaked before every ride and oiled often.
  • Inspect your bit regularly!
  • The tongue fills the entire oral cavity of the horse. A bit is accommodated only through compression of the tongue.
  • In an ideal situation, the tongue sits on the floor of the oral cavity and splays out over the bars, which keeps the bit from sitting on the sensitive bars.
  • On a Class 1 bit (any bit where the reins attach to the same ring as the mouthpiece) the mouthpiece rotates backward in the oral cavity upon rein contact.
  • The bit is properly tensioned (the right height in the horse's mouth) when the borehole (the hole that the ring goes through) is 90 degrees to the cheekpiece with no rein contact. Bits have been designed to rotate to the proper position in the horse's mouth with rein contact at this resting tension. (Note that in trying to find images for this, I had a really hard time finding many that followed this rule, and most didn't look like they could follow the rule.)
Enjoy my poor drawing skills from my note taking.

  • On a Class 2 bit (any bit where reins are attached to a ring lower than the mouthpiece) the bit rotates forward in the mouth upon rein contact.
  • The curb chain should be adjusted so that the shank will rotate no more than 45 degrees to the lip line so as to prevent excess poll pressure.
  • Loose ring snaffles should be .25" wider than the horse's mouth measurement. Fixed ring snaffles should be the same width as this measurement.
  • The most common problems she sees are bit tension and bit size.

The most interesting thing that I didn't know was about the bit tension. Princess Phantom likes the bit lower in her mouth than I think is right (but hey, it's not in my mouth!) and I've been wondering where Cisco's new baucher should be sitting. So that night after the webinar I went out to the barn and tacked Phantom up for our ride and looked closely at her bit. It's a baucher - it looks like the rule won't apply to that bit! The boreholes are at the same angle as the cheekpiece because of the shank that comes out of the top of the bit. D'oh! I'm going to send an email to the bit fitter and see if I'm right, and if there is another way to check the tension with this type of bit.

It was good information and worth watching, but it would have been more interesting to learn about specific bits and their action and why they might work in different circumstances. Bitting is not a one size fits all though, so I understand why she didn't want to get into that type of information. Sadly, I don't know of anyone who comes through this area to do a bit fitting clinic. I would love to try a few different ones out without having to buy them!

Equestrian Canada has already made the webinar free to view on their Youtube page. It's worth checking out!

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

The Sassy Gray Mare

 As soon as I hopped on Phantom on Monday night I knew she was feeling better.

She was pretty sassy. Maybe she was just happy to be inside and not out in the unexpected downpour of rain and wind that picked up just after I brought her in. 

Cool sky colour from inside the arena at the end of my ride. Everything was completely dry when I arrived at the barn.

But I'm pretty sure it was because her hocks felt better.

She was far less stompy and heavy on her forehand at the walk. When we picked up the trot, her first few steps were slow and shuffly, but by about step six she was picking up her pace. A little too much pace.


The whole ride really was just trying to keep her trot from getting silly. A little harder for me at the moment - I use a lot of thigh on her to half halt her and slow her down, but my left thigh is still sore (getting better slowly) and still hurts to squeeze in, so she wasn't responding as well as she would have if I could ride her better.

Whatever, I'm just happy she's feeling good!

Really, she was sassy and feeling great!

We didn't do a whole lot, a bit of walk/trot/canter, but because of the weather I took my time. On Saturday I had set up my Pixio determined to see if I can figure out a better setup as I've been having issues with it consistently losing me in one corner of the arena. I tried a couple of different configurations on foot and had a friend wear the tracker for a few minutes while she was riding and it all looked good so I was optimistic that I had found a better beacon setup.

I also finally got around to labeling the case for my Pixio. 

On this night, I took my time getting it set up, and was really happy to find that it only lost me once at the beginning of the ride - in a different corner than normal. Success!

It's only been one week since her hock injections so hopefully she will start to feel even better over the next couple of weeks. Now the challenge will be to try to build some muscle again (on both of us) - I need my leg to get better faster so that I can ride more!

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Vet Visit - Phantom

 The old gray mare has been feeling a little creaky lately.

Phantom had her hocks injected last August. Her right hind felt like it had a spring installed. The left one just never seemed to take as well.

When winter hit, she decided she was an old lady and started moving as such. She always warmed out of it, but there was something consistently niggling there when tracking left. It felt like left front on a turn, and left hind on the straight lines.

It was so minor though, that I've just kept putting it off getting her looked at. She's been getting ridden once or twice a week for half an hour, mostly putzing around. Lameness was never obvious.

Until recently.

The Equisense agreed with what I felt.

Within the last month, I've noticed that she seems much heavier and stompier on her forehand when leading into the barn. Under saddle, she's also been a bit stumbly. It was finally time to deal with it.

Off we went to the vet clinic early last week. I picked what is likely to be the hottest day of the year to haul her over. Thankfully, she stayed nice and cool on my Boeckmann trailer.

Waiting (rather impatiently) to be able to unload at the vet clinic.

I told the vet what I'd been feeling and that I suspected my drama queen of a horse is either overloading her front end to get off her hocks, or she was lame in all four legs.

At first, it looked like the all four legs thing might be right. She trotted and he could see it on the left front, then the right front looked worse. We took her outside to a sand ring and she looked better on the soft ground.

We did flexion tests and Phantom looked far better than I anticipated. He said if he was doing a PPE he'd say she flexed like he would expect a 17 year old horse to flex. I'm okay with that!

He agreed that we should inject her hocks again and see if that would do the trick. He also gave me some Previcox to use as needed over the winter if she seems to be a bit creaky in the cold again. If I don't think she's feeling sounder after about a month then we might have to look more into her front feet.

I warned them that Phantom is not a cheap date when it comes to sedation, which meant she had a really good snooze after the procedure had been completed. Thankfully we were able to stay inside out of the very hot sun, but it also meant that she had many people laughing at her very loud snoring. 

Good thing there was a wall there.

I plan to hop on her today (Sunday) and see how she feels. Fingers crossed that she's feeling a bit better!

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Guilty Pleasure: Riders

 If you rode horses in the late 80's/early 90's there's a very good chance you read Jilly Cooper's Riders. You know, the book with this fairly distinctive cover.


I read this book many times, as well as most of the rest of the series. Well, the ones that featured horses at least. Polo was probably my other favorite.

I've known for a while that they made the book into a TV movie that was aired in the UK. But I've never been able to find a copy of it. 

Something popped up recently in my internet surfing that made me remember these books. I tried another Google search to find the movie and tada - it's on Youtube!

It is admittedly not a great adaptation of the book. The book is long and I'm guessing they had to cut lots out to keep it within the time limit of a movie and not a mini-series. Plus, there's kinda a lot of sexy times in the book. There are many scenes in the book that you can't show on TV. And although I haven't read the book in probably close to 20 years, I'm pretty sure that they totally changed the ending. It ends at the Olympics, which is right, but that's about it.

But, hey, there's horses! 

So, if you have a couple of hours to kill while you're stuck in lockdown, here's the link! Note that it's annoyingly in 10 minute increments, so make sure you have enabled auto-play in YouTube. Don't get your hopes up on this being true to the novel though!



Thursday, 13 August 2020

Trying Hard

 A little over a year ago, my ride on Friday would have been terrible.

Cisco hadn't been ridden for a week. There was some fence construction (de-construction?) happening outside the arena and there was a whole lotta power tool noise. Horses were starting to arrive for a clinic that started the next day. The PA system for said clinic was set up but covered in black garbage bags. The letter B was only held on by a corner and thus was flapping in the breeze halfway down the long side. Two of the clinic horses suddenly showed up at the wrong end of the arena without warning.

Nothing fazed him.

Sure, he looked at the PA system the first time we walked past it. And on about the 20th time we passed that flappy B he dropped his shoulder to the inside. But that was it.

All photos are from the next ride that I had on him, which was a very similar ride.


I thought I might be in trouble as I was warming up. He called out a couple of times and there were a lot of snorts as we walked around the arena - usually the harbinger of a rushed first trot. But not on this ride. 

His new Turtle-Top bit has made a huge difference in how he's been going. He's much rounder at a trot right at the beginning of the ride. I have to keep encouraging him to lengthen his neck - it would be very easy for him to duck behind the vertical and hang out there, and I don't want him to learn that it's an option.


We've struggled a little with the connection at the canter since switching to this bit, but this was the first ride that he tried really hard to carry himself like I was asking. Again, he wants to shorten his neck, so I have to keep trying to get it longer. He got it for a few strides on his weaker lead and felt like he was really close on his good lead. I was really happy with his try. I think the longer neck will take a bit for him to find the strength and his balance.




Friday, 7 August 2020

What Have We Been Up To?

 So, uh, it's been a while. What's been happening?

A bunch, but not much?

Not many new horse pictures, but I have frog pictures.

I've been managing to ride 3 or 4 times a week, mostly Cisco. My thigh is still sore but not nearly as sore as it was since I've started physio, so I'm still trying to keep my rides to about 30 minutes and have a day off in-between. 

Cisco seems to appreciate his new Turtle-Top bit, at least at a trot. He's been much steadier in the contact although it hasn't solved the mouth opening issue. But I don't think it's as bad. Unless he's stressed - then all I hear are teeth clacking together. 

On Wednesday's ride this week, after a week off, he started off by constantly calling out while we walked around (turnout changes in the paddock next to him that day). I thought he might be rather silly once we picked up the trot, but the first 6 or 7 strides of trot felt amazing. Up in front, slow and reaching instead of his normal rushed and wiggly, and pushing into the bridle. Even better, I rode it well. It felt sooo good. 

And dragonfly pictures.

And then of course it quickly fell apart. I managed to get it back a few times for short durations so there's hope that it wasn't a total fluke!

The new bit has not been a miracle at the canter though. I'm pretty sure the fact that I haven't been doing much canter due to a variety of reasons (hurts my leg more, getting to the end of my 30 minute ride limit, fresh horse who doesn't want to steer, current heatwave, sketchy girl lunging her sketchy horse who has been on stall rest and he ran into a jump standard and she let go of the lunge line so I jumped off and didn't feel like getting back on and also didn't want to be in the arena with her. Those kinds of reasons.) is the main reason that it hasn't gotten much better. I feel like it's really close though.

I've decided to finally bite the bullet and take Phantom in for a lameness check. She's been feeling creaky for quite a while and it's not going away. She was ridden on Sunday and was traveling quite a bit on her forehand and took some occasional steps that were definitely uneven. I'm hauling her over to the vet clinic next week. I don't know how much I'm willing to put into figuring it out though. Hopefully, it's something relatively simple and obvious to trained eyes.

Add in an hour or so of physio exercises and stretches everyday and life has been busy. But everyone's well and ticking along!



Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

I've been doing some physiotherapy for my groin pain over the last couple of weeks. I had dry needling done on it (wasn't terrible if you have to have it done) and that really seemed to help the muscle/tendon relax. Since then I've become very familiar with my foam roller (we have a love/hate relationship) and I have some stretches to do a couple of times a day. I also have to work on activating my glutes so that they can fire and take some strain off my adductors.

The good news is that it seems to be helping. Slowly. This isn't something that's just going to go away overnight. It's going to take some diligence on my part to make sure that I keep up with the stretches and rolling and exercises that I'm being given.


I rode for the first time in 10 days on Sunday. My groin was still pretty sore in the saddle so I kept it short, only about 25 minutes. 

What was interesting was how loose my body felt. As soon as I sat in the saddle I felt very around my horse, which was great, but when I picked up the trot I felt very loose through my legs and hips. It's going to be a bit of a challenge to keep this loose feeling but put some tone into my body, without allowing everything to get tight. 

At the canter my butt was glued to the saddle despite Cisco being a little bit giraffe-y. I also thought it felt easier to turn my torso to the right when tracking right, which is usually a problem.

I was more sore after the ride than before the ride, but things have worked out over the last couple of days with the stretching and rolling. I'm still going to limit the amount that I'm riding for a while, ideally riding every other day. Fingers crossed that I can go back to riding more by the end of the summer. 
The ponies are pretty happy with their lack of work at the moment.

I'm thinking of getting some Franklin balls to try to ride with. If I'm going to be spending a bunch of time doing slow stuff in the saddle, might as well try something new!

Friday, 10 July 2020

The Best Laid Plans

Since my province went into stage 3 of reopening at the end of last month, I made sure to make a massage appointment this week during my vacation. I haven't had a massage since around Christmas, and oh boy, did it ever show. She said she could have easily spent 90 minutes on my legs alone. There were a whole bunch of areas that normally aren't a problem but this time they were super tight and sore. She also spent some time on my left thigh and the adductors that have been sore for the last few weeks. Which meant they were pretty pissed off on Tuesday when I went to ride.

My plan for that ride was to work on Cisco coming forward at a canter when I was in 2 point off my legs and not my seat. I had set up a few single poles to ride over. We were going to follow the mantra that I picked up at a clinic years ago of turn, straight, forward, balance into the pole. 

It didn't quite go that way.

Cisco was in the arena by himself, which always means he's a bit more up. My leg was more sore than usual once I was in the saddle so I planned to keep the ride short. I skimped a bit on the warm-up to try to get to the meaty bits of the ride sooner (going over the poles). I should have spent a bit more time riding him down at a trot first.

He wasn't bad, he was just a little sassy. I wanted forward, and he gave it to me. Unfortunately, he didn't come back very well. 

Instead of going towards the poles with turn, straight, forward, balance, it was turn, straight, get wiggly, slow the f down. Only at a trot - we didn't make it to trying it at a canter. 

Our canter - well, he went forward off my leg at a 2 point, going up the long side towards the scary end. He typically backs off heading this direction, so I was happy that he easily went forward. And he hand-galloped forward instead up upward (he often gets high headed and bouncy when he gallops). Again, good. Unfortunately, we didn't really get much of a transition to settle back into a canter, and I kept losing my foot position in my outside stirrup and couldn't get it back on my foot properly and we were heading into the scary corner where he's likely to suddenly drop his shoulder and dive to the inside without warning and I didn't want to die because my position wasn't overly secure. 

Yeah, I gave up on that.

I then tried to just get a decent canter before hopefully attempting the poles. We had prompt transitions, so good. The transitions had a bit of rocket power behind them and then never really slowed down. Bad.

And then he started coughing at the canter. When Cisco coughs, his head just drops and he lets out a huge cough and it feels like he's going to fall on his face. Not fun when you're in 2 point. 

Yeah, I gave up on that too. The whole ride.

In reality, I probably shouldn't have ridden. My leg was really sore the next day. I probably should have given it a couple of days off after the massage, and I think I'm going to give it the next week and half or so off of riding. Next week I have three days where I won't be able to ride because of work, and this weekend there's a clinic at the barn and I can't use the arena until the evenings, so it's a good time to take a bit of a break. I also have a physiotherapy appointment booked for Thursday and figure I'll be pretty sore the next day so that means riding Thursday and Friday are out. 

The ponies will be getting ground work though! I've been starting on the piaffe training from the TRT Method, so I'll see how far we can get in the next 10 days or so!