Friday, February 19, 2010

Cantering again

We cantered again today.  Drifter was good on the lunge line with her cantering- much better then under saddle.  Under saddle was better then previously.  Some rushing still, but less fussing with her head and no bucks going into the canter.  Hoping to have her work on the canter on the lunge more and S L O W L Y incorporate it back into our under saddle work.  So, no cantering tomorrow under saddle, just going back to reinforcing calm, quiet and forward.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Turn on the forehand

Drifter learned turn on the forehand today.  It was much easier for her to do a turn on the haunches.  I attribute this to her Quarter Horse bloodlines- that girl can spin.  However, asking her to keep her shoulders stationary and move her haunches was a total enigma for her.  I ended up dismounting and doing a little ground work.  I used a dressage whip to apply an aid where my leg would be and backed it up with a tap on the hock.  When she was reliably moving off the whip aid on the ground I remounted and worked on it from "up top".  She still had trouble with the concept and it required several tries in both directions.  I stood her facing the arena wall and asked for a 90 degree turn on the forehand.  When she moved her haunches at all I stopped the aid.  We repeated both left and right sides.  She had more trouble moving off my left leg and often stepped into the leg aid the first three or four attempts.  Once it clicked it really seemed to made sense to her.

I also lunged her before riding and she had a nice canter on the lunge.  I think I will have her canter on the lunge again a few more times before reintroducing it under saddle.  She has been so much more relaxed since I have backed off on cantering under saddle.  Today was a really good schooling ride!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Results came back today- negative n/n for PSSM type one. 

Now the question is, what to do next. 
  • continue to go slowly with training, but do no further medical testing
  • do blood tests for Lyme and mineral levels (low E and selenium)
  • add supplements, such as magnesium, to deal with muscle tightness and tenseness
  • other... what to do now

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Two rides, two days

Yesterday, we rode outside in the snow.  I focused on
getting relaxation and figured she couldn't go anywhere to quickly with the deep snow.  This worked out pretty well.  We did 20 minutes in the snow at the walk, 10-15 minutes in the indoor at the trot and another 5 minutes walking around the barn.  She's been a bit barn sour and tense walking around the barn, so we practiced walking calmly.  In the indoor she was moving so nicely.  She was forward and really able to move. 
Today, she was much more stiff.  It was too windy to ride outside at all.  She was very short strided behind and I had to work hard to get her to move out at all.  She seemed like she wanted to go forward, but just couldn't extend or stretch at all.  We did some lateral work at the walk and some trotting.  I rode about 45 minutes total.  We had several stops at the trot and I wonder if it's training or muscles.  Guess we'll find out soon.  Her left hip was really tight after riding and she really leaned into a little massage over the hip after riding.  She's been much more relaxed since we haven't cantered in a few weeks.  With improved trot and lateral work we should be cantering again soon.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still waiting

Still waiting for Drifter's results from the PSSM DNA test. 

On Friday we were able to work outside a litle bit.  Kim (barn staff) told me that she looked really stiff in the field and was reluctant to go though the gate near the other horses.  When I brought her in, she was reluctant to walk up to the gate, but I wasn't sure if it was stiffness or leaving the other horses.  I noticed that her ilicus muscle was taut and hard.  I figured I would start with lunging and take it easy.  We did 15-20 minutes of walking on the lunge with a few half circles of trotting.  I got on and rode after she relaxed and lengthened her stride and rode for 20 minutes, also mostly at the walk.  She stayed nicely relaxed during our time outside.

On Tuesday, I rode her for another 20 minutes.  She was mostly willing and relaxed.  She handled the snow falling off the roof and the dogs playing in the indoor with a slow down or a stop.  She was soft through her neck and willing to bend in both directions.  She got her rabies vaccination and a coggins drawn, so I wasn't sure how she would be.  I wanted her to stay relaxed and go forward.  We accomplished most of this and looking in the mirror at the end of the ride, she looked good.  She was up in front, round and tracking up.  Great way to end our session before the snow!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The horseman and the trainer...

Sometimes I am conflicted by which role I am playing.  Right now, while awaiting Drifter's PSSM tests I am reluctant to push her under saddle at all.  The trainer in me screams at each resistance Drifter shows.  The horsewoman says give her a chance, she might be cramping, she might be stiff, she feels like she is trying. 

I took it really easy tonight a few minutes on the lunge line at walk and trot and 15 minutes under saddle.  At the trot she was reluctant to go forward under saddle.  She broke to walk a few times and then she would offer up the trot again- hard to figure it out.  However, overall she was more calm at the end of our ride then the beginning.  She had a "happier face" on by the end of our ride.  It was like she knew that I understood that she wasn't trying to be "bad". 

Even if she is negative for PSSM I want to investigate further what could have been increasing her anxiety and tightness through her neck, back and hips.