Friday 30 March 2018

More Miles

Wednesday was the first day in a while that I had nothing scheduled. No work, no lessons to teach, no appointments or pressing errands. I slept in super late and took my time getting out to the barn in the late afternoon.

It's spring break out here. I had no idea if lessons were running at their normal times, or all shifted to the day, or cancelled outright.

They definitely weren't cancelled.

When I took Cisco into the arena, there were 4 kids riding - 3 of which were just about to start a jumping lesson. There was a new horse being held in the arena who kept having Black Stallion moments. There was snow sliding off the sloped arena roof. There were idiotic pigeons walking around. There was a kid bashing rocks together in the viewing area.
Substitute car with horse.
And there was no place to safely lunge. I did not time that well.

Cisco's brain was close to exploding. So many new friends that he desperately wanted to make and that I was being super mean about not letting him run up to. The snow wasn't being overly loud when it fell, and no one else was really reacting, and there were horses all over to stare at anyways, so it wasn't super scary. Except once when it happened right behind him as I was getting ready to get on the mounting block. He bolted forward and I got yanked a few steps. Thankfully I wasn't on the block at the time as I'm pretty sure I would have landed on my face.

But I was there, he was tacked up, he needs this experience, and I wouldn't be able to ride again until Monday. So I had to make the best of it.
Oooh - I should make them signs.
I started with a bunch of groundwork, leading him around. It took a few minutes but he started to settle a bit and wasn't dragging me around. At least until he saw the pigeon. The dimwitted pigeon, who totally isn't scared of humans or horses these days. As I was leading Cisco near the pigeon that was walking on the ground, I jokingly told Cisco to get the pigeon. He decided to listen to me (for once), dropped his nose, and totally chased the pigeon. Like picked up a trot chased the pigeon. He got one step away from that pigeon before it flew away. Stupid pigeons.
Apparently there is a game about a stupid pigeon.
I finally decided that he was as calm as he was going to get so I hopped on. With everything happening in the arena, I wasn't sure if I would do anything other than walk. Surprisingly, he was pretty good at a walk. Pretty good meaning that he was too busy looking around to get tense and do silly things with his mouth and neck.

The first trot was, um, quick. But he settled his pace fairly quickly. Our steering was terrible though. He's pretty good about turning where I want, it's more so the corners where he bulges in towards the other horses. When riding with other people who are in a lesson I can't school the corners the way I would like. He's much better when we are by ourselves.

Riding at this point is all about miles. He's not as reactive or spooky as he was last fall. He's just easily distracted.

He did have a grown-up horse moment though - he (mostly) ground tied while I groomed him! That's a big deal, and was a total surprise. He got a bit impatient towards the end, and took a couple of steps to the side to sniff whatever he found interesting, but didn't actually leave. We're nowhere near the point where I trust him to stand while I walk back to the tack room, but that's a huge difference from a year ago.
Standing by himself at attention, thanks to the All Ears app. He was actually very chill while I was grooming.

Phantom's lump on her butt is definitely a hematoma. I decided to put some heat on it for a bit. I didn't have an actual heat pack, so I added some hot water to some horse food in a ziploc bag. Added bonus (to Phantom) that the heat pack could be fed afterwards.

I took her over to lunge her to see how sound she looked. She looked great as she galloped around me. Totally sound. I let her loose so she could get her sillies out. Which she was only too happy to do.
Super slurpy heat pack (with volume on).

Dimwitted pigeon narrowly escaped his demise when he didn't get out of Phantom's way until the last second - she got two sideways kicks in at him when he flew up from underneath her. He got smarter after that and stayed up in the rafters for a bit.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

This Is Bulls#!t

That's fresh snow on the ground. Can't see my footprints from when I went to the arena an hour earlier. 


This winter is never going to end. 

The snow and wind that blew in Monday night weren't in the forecast that morning. It wasn't even really expected through the evening - 40% chance when I got home from work.  Yet the wind picked up, the sky clouded over, and by the time I got to the barn the occasional snowflake was drifting past my windshield. (It snowed most of Monday night, and I drove to work on Tuesday afternoon in a snowstorm.)

I brought Cisco in to tack up, and when I opened the overhead door to head over to the arena, little balls of fresh snow rolled under the door. Great.
My awesome new horse socks arrived from Amazon.
The worst part was that the new snow covered all the frozen and unfrozen areas of the yard, and you couldn't tell what was solid and what was liquid until you stepped in it. Hence I had wet feet by the time I got into the arena.

One of the joys of the first spring in a new place is finding out what happens with the thaw. And yay - the arena gets flooded. There was a big chunk of one corner that I had to avoid. Pretty sure that there will be some re-grading done this summer.

The wind was blowing, so there were scary sounds at the end of the arena. I lunged Cisco down there, and he wasn't too bad, but definitely not relaxed. There were jumps set up that I had to work around, so I didn't have as much space as I would have liked, so I didn't spend too much time lunging. I decided to just suck it up and get on, and just deal with whatever horse I had. 
The horse socks came with people who just had sex in the park socks.
It took some effort to get on however. Mostly because I was laughing. Cisco loves his neck and withers scratched. Loves it. When I get on I grab a chunk of mane with my left hand. I guess that pulling on his mane felt kind of good. He kept lifting his head and neck up and down, up and down. When I released his mane, he stopped. I grabbed mane again, and he started up and down with his head again. Twit. I finally had Pony Grandma stand at his head so that I could get on.

I put him back in the Micklem bridle in the hopes that he would be less fussy. Nope. Maybe a wee bit, but not much. I really think it's mostly nerves, whether it be feel good nerves or worried nerves. He got a bit better after trotting for a few minutes straight, and then got worse again. 

I think that he definitely understands steering from my leg at a trot. At one point we were on a large circle to the left, and his butt was swung one way and his head the other. I put my inside leg on, and he actually bent around it. Huh. Then there was the corner by the gate that he had totally fallen out at the first two times on our figure 8 pattern. So the next time I was determined to fix it, and used mostly outside leg to give him a barrier. And it was hugely better. 
Horse abuse. He's obviously traumatized.
So at least I'm happy that I have some control over his body. I just need to figure out the relaxation (or rather lack of it) issue so that I can start to work on contact and start to influence his frame a bit. It'll come. Especially when I can ride more consistently because it's not snowing or freezing. So, for like two weeks in July. (Fun fact - my city has had snow fall in every month of the year except July.)

By the time I finished with Cisco I was definitely not riding Phantom. She came in just to eat and so that I could check her bump from the previous day. It was still there. About the same size. She was maybe a bit uncomfortable and trying to keep full weight off of it while eating, but I was maybe being paranoid. I'm just hoping it doesn't turn into a hematoma (or hematomato as I like to call them).

Monday 26 March 2018

For Kicks

I moved Phantom's intervals up on Sunday from 3 minutes to 4 minutes x 5 intervals. Got that?

To be honest, I was more worried about me dying than her. Surprisingly, the 4 minutes went really fast. Each of us could have done more. Hopefully next week.

I had another fantastic ride on her. She's really trying. I know she's not fit or strong, and for a little stock horse who naturally moves in a very level manner dressage is not easy for her. She has a tendency to get a bit low and behind the vertical, which I think is partly due to lack of strength. When she is stronger it goes away (unless she's feeling full of herself).
Looks like she may have taken a hoof to the hip. That bump shouldn't be there. I witch hazel'd it.

At this point the goal is to just keep her neck long and throatlatch open. And lots of chances to stretch.

We did a bit more canter as well. It's amazing how when you sit up and look ahead your horse goes better. Who'd a thunk it?
I have sympathy for her - this was the result of a hoof to my thigh. This was actually from Cisco in 2013, when he decided that he wasn't real keen on being tubed when he had choke from a hay cube. It was just before we remembered how much sedative it had taken to knock him down to be gelded as a yearling. 

At a canter Phantom had some lovely moments, including probably the best canter leg yields we've ever had. Those lovely moments are just moments though. Our rideability at canter leaves lots of room for improvement.
And about 8 months later I had a matching bruise on my other thigh. I was trying to catch a horse who didn't want to be caught and took a hoof intended for her. Pretty sure she didn't get her feet trimmed that day.

She was pretty sweaty and tired when we went back to the barn to untack.
Tired, but not too tired for cookies.
I didn't have it in me to hop on another horse (PMS exhaustion) so I decided to do something fun with Cisco.

A month or so ago I finally found an exercise ball cheap enough that I could use it for the horses to kick around. Phantom loves this game, even under saddle. I tried Cisco once with it last summer, and he had no desire to try to figure out what I wanted him to do. So I thought it was time to try it again. 

It clicked in pretty quickly this time. He figured out very quickly that there was something about the ball that made the treat dispenser work. It didn't take too long before he was targeting that ball when I led him towards it. 

But he would just stop in front of it or walk around it. 

At first I would set him or the ball up so that he just had to move his leg to take a step and he would come in contact with the ball. Cisco seemed happy for me to do most of the work for him so that he could reap the reward.

So I stopped. And made him offer the behaviour. 

He figured it out. 

He doesn't seem to be as desperate to get the treats as Phantom gets. She'll try everything for just one more hit. Cisco seems to want to think it over a bit, then make a deliberate action.

The funny part was when I had finished with the treats and put them aside, Cisco was loose and I was talking to a friend. He walked over to that ball and very deliberately kicked it. 

I think he's going to like this game too.

Friday 23 March 2018

How This Week Went

Ugh, this week.

I had to work super early mornings at the beginning of the week. I am not a morning person. I have a hard time getting to bed early at a reasonable hour so early morning shifts mean I have to come home and nap and I end up super dopey for the rest of the day.

Then I actually did manage to ride and woke up the next day hurting everywhere. I maintained a steady diet of ibuprofen with muscle relaxers for the day and could not get enough enthusiasm to get on a horse.

I don't usually get to ride on Thursday's due to work (although my body soreness was significantly better when I woke up).

Although the calendar says it's supposed to be spring, Mother Nature has other plans. I fully expect to wake up on Friday morning to a dump of snow that's supposed to hit overnight. So I have no idea if I will make it out to the barn in the evening.
Seriously?? When is winter going to end?

And then tomorrow, Saturday, I am attending a dinner/awards/lecture thing being put on by our provincial equestrian organization. It was only $25, and includes a dinner and swag bag (the promise of a swag bag gets me every time). One of the lectures is supposed to be about goal setting, which I'm looking forward to, as it's something I suck at.
I also suck at taking pictures of pigs. They're just too close to the ground!

On my way down to the event I'm going to pick up the cheque for my saddle that sold on consignment. Yay!

The farrier rescheduled last minute this week, so now my guys will be getting done at 9 weeks instead of 7. I'm not real happy about this, but it's the first time it's happened, so I'll suck it up. Their feet are fine at the moment and no one is tripping.

Hopefully next week works out better to get some riding done.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Spring Has Sprung

I think I used an ab during my ride last night. I feel it today.

Actually, I feel it everywhere. (My birthday is in a couple of weeks. Apparently I'm getting old.)

I had a really good ride on Phantom, after scraping off a bunch of hair that she finally decided to part with. The lovely spring day probably had something to do with that. It was finally warm-ish and everything was melting into big pools of slush and poo water that just sits on the surface because the ground is still frozen.

This was the first ride this year that she felt soft in her back. I was able to do some sitting trot and not have her tighten her back up. Thus, I actually used my abs. For like a whole 30 seconds before they hurt. My misery and pain made me giggle as we trotted along.
Yes, you read that right - we jumped. A single badass itty bitty crosspole.
The only bad thing about the ride was that Phantom threw in a couple of coughs and seemed a bit puffy through the first couple of trot sets. She hasn't coughed over the last 6 weeks or so, so I was hoping she would continue to be good for a while. I have a feeling the change in weather probably has something to do with it, so I will continue to monitor before overreacting.

I was hoping to move her trot intervals up to 4 minutes x 5 intervals for this ride, but for some reason that session wasn't on my running watch, so I just stuck with the 3 minute version. Once she coughed I was glad that I had just gone with the easier version.
Our highest symmetry rating so far.
I also wasn't sure if I would canter her, as that is when she gets puffier. I was glad that I did though, as we had some really nice moments. I held my reins in the fillis style, in an attempt to keep her throatlatch more open and her neck long. And for a few strides, I actually managed to get my ass in the saddle, and she sat back and cantered beautifully. And then I stuck my leg on to ask for a bit more, she tightened her back and neck, and bounced me out of the saddle again, and it all fell to hell. But for a second there was hope!

She worked hard enough to finally break a sweat. A nasty, white, foamy sweat on her girth. Yuck. I now need to clean tack.

And then there was my ride on Cisco.

It started well. I did a short lunge, he seemed very relaxed in both ends of the arena. He stood nicely while I got on, and walked for the first 10 minutes or so on a loose rein. 
This is why my shoulders hurt today.
But for some reason there was a lot of tension. He pooped 3 times and peed twice during the 50 or so minutes that we were in the arena. His tension manifests itself as being really fussy with his mouth and neck. This is about the third ride in a row that he's been like this. Flipping his head, curling and sucking back, flipping a front leg out like he plans to rub his nose on it but since we're trotting he can't.

He was like this in the very beginning when I first started him. Why has it come back? Here are my possibilities:
  1. we've started to introduce canter, and he's worried about me chasing him into it. 
  2. he's decided that he no longer likes the Myler bit I'm using, which means I have no idea where to go next. (HS Duo?)
  3. he's bored. We've been stuck inside for a long time now. Andalusian brains need to be kept stimulated.
  4. he's a bit more comfortable with the being ridden thing, so now he's trying to push his boundaries.
  5. I've started to carry a dressage whip.
Because of the pooping, I'm wondering if it's #1. 
High score for Cisco also.
I did add some trot poles for the first time, and having that distraction seemed to help. He got better, not great, but better in between the poles. At least until another horse came into the arena. Then he got super wiggly and poky. Sigh.

At this point I'm planning to ignore it and just keep working on forward. I will try carrying a shorter crop instead of the dressage whip and see if that makes a difference. And just hope it's another green horse phase.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Deep In The Amazon

I love Amazon.

Shop for anything from the comfort of my bed? Hell, yeah. Get it within a couple of days (thanks to Amazon Prime)? Yes please. Not needing to shop anywhere in person except the grocery store and occasionally the pet store? Worth the Amazon Prime cost.

I scout Amazon regularly for deals. And I've managed to find some smokin' ones.
Like the size 15 Oster blades that I paid $7-something for last December.

One trick is that I put anything that I might be interested in onto my Wish List. That makes it easy to check for price reductions. Also useful because you'll never find it again if you accidentally stumbled across something cool.

If you search "horse" on the Amazon site there will be a crap-ton of stuff.

There are some odd choices.
Horse leg socks

And then there are thing I legitimally want.

These horse paperclips are now on my wish list. $8.51.

Love these Dala Horse socks. They're now on my list. $10.40 (they'd have be cheaper for me to buy them, but one can hope!)

I really want this mechanical bank. $64.98. Not that I have any money to put into it.

A rolling pin that embosses your cookies with horses! I might be convinced to bake if I had this. $50

I actually bought these socks when I needed a filler. $8 / 4 pr.

Fair warning though - don't search by "pony". Unless you want anything you've ever thought of with a My Little Pony theme. 

(Note that these items were all found on the Canadian Amazon site, and are in Canadian pricing.)

Monday 19 March 2018

Quiet Weekend

There wasn't much happening on the pony front this weekend. I totally planned to ride on Saturday evening after work. But it snowed pretty well all day. It was mostly melting when it hit the ground (on the roads at least), but by the time I got home it was freezing on my car. I really didn't want to go out and get wet and cold. So I didn't.
Gray hair everywhere. 

It was late in the day before I managed to get out to the barn. So the ponies just got let loose in the arena to play for a bit, I scraped some hair off of Cisco, and redid Phantom's tail.

It touches the ground. Or did.
The advantage to putting Phantom's tail up over the winter is that it grows enough that I can cut a few inches off the stained ends. It was touching the ground by a couple of inches, so I chopped off about 4". Mostly because I didn't want to spend the effort to dry that part. It will still be wrapped up for another couple of months, so I'll bang it properly when I start to leave it down. 
Flowered duct tape because it's spring. 
Both horses got turned out without their hoods. It's still chilly overnight, just not crazy cold. There's lots of snow on the ground at the moment. Once that melts there's a good chance that the hoods will go back on in an attempt to prevent the gray horse spring tan. Pretty sure it will be muddy this year.

Friday 16 March 2018

Spring Supplies

This weekend is the annual spring sale at Greenhawk, which is Canada's only national chain of equestrian stores. They often have a few good items at great prices, mostly their own branded stuff. This year there really isn't anything that I need, so for the most part I just ordered some boring necessities.

Like dewormer. It is 30% off this weekend. So I bought a years supply for each horse - an ivermectin, Safe Guard, and Quest Plus.
Gotta buy the necessities when they're on sale.
Phantom needed a new set of bell boots - the ones she has now have a split down one of them. The Shedrow ones fit her well, which can be an issue, and they aren't expensive. She only wears them when she gets to gallop around the arena and sometimes when trailering so cheap is fine.

I wanted a storage bag to store the Equisense and accessories in my locker. I had been eyeing something at the dollar store (for $3 of course) but wasn't sure if the girth attachment would fit in it. I think this clipper bag will work nicely, and it was $9. Pretty sure it will be better quality than the dollar store thing I was considering.

Since Cisco broke my lunge line clip, that needed to be replaced. And I threw in some of the surcingle donut elastics for blanket straps - I think I might have some but have no idea where.

My only splurge was a couple of C4 buckles. I don't need any more, but I wanted a couple of different colours to better match some of the belts that I got on Black Friday. I was hoping for chrome red, but they didn't have it, so I went with regular red and chrome black.
I think Thelwell needs a red buckle.
I was planning to drive to the local store on Thursday morning and pick up my list. Which would probably mean that I wouldn't have time to get home before I went to work in the afternoon, so I was planning on taking work clothes and kind of wandering around town before working. Which would mean a very long day. But I woke up in the morning to an email from Greenhawk that they had free shipping on orders over $75! So I shopped from home instead.

I'm just hoping that they have everything I want - I haven't had the best of luck with that from this company. And sure enough, later in the day, I got the shipping notice, and the one thing that wasn't shipped was the bell boots - the only thing that I needed in a somewhat timely manner. Oh well, as long as I eventually get them and don't have to pay shipping I can wait.

Thursday 15 March 2018

Evening Rides

I stayed home from the barn on Monday and Tuesday in an attempt to recuperate from the lack of sleep that Daylight Savings Time brings on. I love the extra light at the end of the day, but man, it's really hard to get to bed at a decent hour for the first few nights. Especially when you turn on Netflix and find a bunch of shows have new seasons. Like Broadchurch and Jessica Jones.

Wednesday was my day off, and since it was freezing cold in the morning when I woke up (-15C - really?) I decided that I would just go out in the evening after teaching the one lesson I had in the late afternoon, with the hope that I would be good to ride both ponies.
I swear that I'm not 12 years old. I promise that I'm in my 40's.
I grabbed Cisco from the field first. He's been more laid back and relaxed lately. Unfortunately, he's also been testing some boundaries. And on the way in, he nipped the sleeve of my jacket with his teeth. So I had to go all screaming crazy woman on him. He seemed a little contrite the rest of the way into the barn.

There was a jumping lesson going on in the arena when I took him over. I intentionally rode him first because he needs to be worked more with other horses.

He's had the last two days off, and because of the lesson, I didn't lunge. I was hoping that I wouldn't regret that decision.

He was quite fussy about his mouth. He kept throwing his front left leg out as we were walking around, and dropping and curling his neck. I was thinking that maybe he wanted to scratch his nose on his leg, but he didn't actually try it. Otherwise, I just ignored his drama.

We walked for quite a bit at the beginning, mostly because I was trying to stay out of the way of the other riders. He did eventually settle and could walk on a longer rein but it took longer than usual.
It was just me, my horse, and our shadows in the arena.

At a trot my goal was to just get forward. He's been a bit sucked back the last couple of rides, so we needed to re-establish the go buttons. He was pretty good about it for the most part. He gets distracted when we ride with others, and is a lot more bulgey than he is when I ride by myself. We also can't seem to ride deep corners at all. This is where we just need a bunch more miles, but it sure is frustrating.

No canter today as I didn't want to be on him with no one around.

I also got a ride in on Phantom.

I am still getting used to riding two different horses, and the different ways that they feel. When I first trotted Phantom to the left, I thought she felt terrible, and not overly sound. The Equisense disagreed with me. I checked it when I came back to walk, and it gave us a symmetry score of 7.7 for that first trot.

We actually finished off with a score of 7.7, which has been our highest symmetry so far. We had a high point of 9.2. She felt fine after the initial trot, so I'm thinking it might just be the difference in horses that I felt. Does that ever go away?

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Return of the Birds of Doom

Back around New Year's, an owl appeared in the arena and within a week or so, all the pigeons in the arena magically disappeared.
Good owl.
Last week, one of the overhead doors to the arena stopped working and the door was open for a couple of days. Over the weekend, they had a reach truck and a dump truck in the arena, so the other big door would have been open for a bit.

And now we have pigeons again. At least 6 of them. 

On Sunday some of the horses were losing their brains over the presence of the pigeons.

Cisco wasn't one of them. 

Apparently pigeons are no longer murderous. 

These pigeons were being quite brave/stupid and were wandering around on the ground. A few times we had to steer right into them, and then they would fly away just as we got up to them. And it didn't faze him. If anything, a couple times he kind of bulged towards them. 

Maybe he was so brave because there were other horses in the arena. I think all the quiet groundwork that I've done has paid off, and he's just braver in general.

He was pretty chill for the ride, to the point that I had to borrow a dressage whip to get him going. I think I need to carry one for the next little while. He's gotten a little too relaxed the last couple of rides.
Getting on and there's suddenly no neck in front of you.

We also did our first left lead canter!

He wasn't as forward all ride as he should have been, so it took more effort than I was hoping. But we got it, and there were no crazy shananigans. We got canter twice to the left, and I was hoping to try again to the right, but another horse was having issues (about the pigeons) so I decided it would be better to end it there,

I am quite happy with how relaxed he has gotten. I need to ride more often with other people, as his attention span was not nearly as good as it had been the night before when we were by ourselves. It'll come! (But I want it now!!!!)

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Friday Night Barn Night (part 2)

Since the weather is finally looking like spring might come sometime during the first half of the year, I was hoping to get some rides in on Cisco over the weekend. But I was much too cold after riding Phantom on Friday night to ride another horse. I figured I would just take him over to the arena for a quick lunge so that he wouldn't be too silly for a ride on Saturday.
Cisco also had to investigate the pile of sand that was going to be spread in the arena. From the top.
I just popped my lunge cavesson on and took him over. We started down in the scary end at a nice easy walk. So easy, that he dropped his head down, and on the very next step put his foot down on the lunge line before I could react. And broke the clip. D'oh!

The good news is that this lunge line has a leather loop with a buckle so I can easily replace the clip. One more thing to add to my Greenhawk list for their spring sale later this week. 

So I chased him around a bit instead. 

Then I decided to set up a little cavaletti for him to pop over. I've done this a couple of times, and he seems to enjoy it. He goes over it loose, without me doing much to make him do it. I mean, it's not big, maybe 18" at the biggest, but I guess it's big enough to get him a bit excited.

So excited that night, that he kept going back and forth over it. Like land, stop in the corner, reverse, and head right back over it. All I did was give a cluck and a wave the whip a bit to get him trotting.

Here's the video:

He had done this a couple times earlier in the session before I decided to get it videoed. I'm sure you are thinking that I've drilled this into him. Nope - this is only the third time I've set this up for him.

So it looks like I might have to find a jumping saddle that fits him.

And do you remember my original review on the All Ears Selfie app? And how this is the only response Phantom gave me when I tried it on her?

Those ears did not go forward.
Totally different response from Cisco.
WTF? Where did that whinny come from?

His head immediately shot straight up and he stared past me. The only sound I used was a whinny.

So far, the app has a 50% success rate.

Monday 12 March 2018

Friday Night Barn Night (part 1)

I am one of those wild and crazy single girls who is happy to spend my Friday nights out at the barn. I often have the place to myself (not that I don't have the barn most other nights to myself, but Friday is a pretty sure bet).

I was hoping to ride both ponies on Friday night as I had gotten out of work a bit early. Phantom was up first.

I moved her trot intervals up from 2 minutes to 3 minutes. I know - she's working so hard. I starting her back on a bit of a rehab type program, after she had heavey type issues last fall, most of 4 months off, and then tied up at the beginning of January. She's lost a lot of strength, so I just want to take everything slow.

She's been starting off a bit uneven, I think on the left front. Not noticeable to anyone watching, but just a little more up on that shoulder on left turns. She seems to work out of it, so I have been trying to ride her through it without overly stressing about it. On this day, she didn't start this way. She felt nice and even at our first trot.

And interestingly, this was supported by the data from the Equisense.
Friday's ride - overall symmetry of 7.4. The high mark was 8.5.

Previous Sunday ride. Overall symmetry 6.9.

I found this quite interesting. She felt more even to me, and the data supports that. 

However, a different problem showed up. She was really stiff laterally on the left rein. Which is totally opposite to how she normally carries herself. Usually the left is her hollow side, and her shoulders bulge to the right. On this day, as we were trotting up the long side on a light contact at the beginning of the ride, her body was curved to the right. Huh.
There was a load of new sand for the arena footing piled up that had to be investigated.

So a big chunk of this ride was some gentle bending and softening to the left, and lots of leg yields. It got a bit better, but I don't feel like she ever really softened. 

The short bit of canter that we did felt horrible. Short, choppy, not forward, tight back, blegh. So I did another 30m circle each way in 2 point and had her roll along a bit more. Note to self - I really need to do more 2 point. 

Unfortunately, by the time I was finished riding Phantom, I was too cold to ride Cisco. He still got some exercise, which I will show tomorrow.

If anyone is interested, here is the other data from the Equisense. Get used to seeing lots of it.