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.


  1. Spring fever maybe?

    I know mine are feeling it!

    1. He's had chances to run around the arena and be silly, but I have to really chase him to make him do anything.

  2. Happy Birthday! Hope that the ab feels better. I wonder if his teeth could need a float?

    1. Thanks! Birthday is in about 2 weeks, and I'm at the age where I don't get excited about it at all. Except that cake is a requirement.
      His teeth were floated for the first time last spring, just under a year ago. At that time I was told they were in pretty good shape, just a few sharp edges. Not saying it isn't the problem, but it's not high on my list of probabilities.

  3. I feel like it gets close to vernal equinox and the horses start getting weird knowing that it's spring time!

    1. I can hope that it will magically disappear now that spring has started. But since the weather is going to be nice and fresh for the next couple of weeks, I doubt it!