Friday 17 March 2017

Tough Love

 I knew I was in for it even as I warmed up - EC had clearly reached her limits with the lesson group ahead of me and there was a lot of telling it like it is going on. When this happens, I'm always worried about the prospect of hearing something I don't want to hear, but I also look forward to tackling the big problems - this seems to be the lessons where the big breakthroughs occur if they're going to.

Because I am an ammy adult with no real ambition and would likely cry if someone went George Morris on me, she scaled back appropriately when we started.  Whew.

We started in trot and B felt like there was zero gas in the tank. Even a tap with the stick netted me about half a stride of a slightly more forward trot.

So, EC picked up the lunge whip, walked to the center of our circle, and followed up my leg with a growl and a snap of the whip. And B just about lost it trying to be best, most forward pony ever. From then on, she just needed to cluck from the sidelines and B was like "HELLO!".

So, rather than a tired pony problem,  it seems we have a rider dedication/ pony respect problem. Bridget has zero issue going to work for EC! Ouch, what little pride I have is hurt.

We did some really nice canter work and some great trot work. Tons of transitions, tons of getting pony using her hind leg more quickly, tons of rider needing to ride better work. We were both huffing and puffing by the end - we had a super workout!
Failed barn door vista for Emma. We work until after dark right now.

My homework:

-Hands stay even and still. Imagine they are side reins and don't move, no matter what. Pony needs to move up into the contact and take me along, and she's very,very, particular about the contact right now, even a tiny wiggle is enough to get her to suck back. For now I need to be contrary to my nature and not be soft or giving, she needs to learn to take a better, more consistent feel and she can't do that if I am always giving or taking.

-Outside shoulder stays back, helping outside rein stay strong and steady. Outside shoulder is my nemesis.

-Fitness for all. I want to be stronger. B needs to be fitter. As per first vet, (the original vet who saw her last year) there's currently nothing wrong with B other than being too fat! Also, of note, several of the other horses in the barn have started coughing a bit, so either we have had a mild virus circulating or the new batch of (gorgeous looking/smelling) hay is a bit dusty.  Things to consider, anyway. So, part of our current prescription is lots of fitness work. Sad in a way, because we already do focus so much on pony fitness, but challenge accepted, I added extra trot and canter into our fitness ride tonight, and will start timing the intervals more diligently. I might also consider adding a second ride per day to her schedule as life permits.

-Pony weight loss. As mentioned, B is living in a grazing muzzle during the day and is pretty sad about it. I'm still on the fence about the thyroxine. She's actually not currently a terrible weight *for her* but I concede she is the typical Thelwell pony and she could stand to lose a few if we want to pretend she's a sport pony:)

-Don't listen when B tells me she is tired/dying. She's a pony, and as such cannot be trusted when exercise is involved.

Personal goal:

Start planning and laying out budgets for shows and clinics this year.

I'm listening to advice and we're going to (literally) work our butts off to try to get to the eventing camp the third week of April, and follow that with an event 2 weeks later if all goes well. The clinic will tell us whether or not we're on the right track fitness and health wise, so after much consideration I've decided to drop the second opinion/specialist vet appointment the week before and reschedule it for after (should we see issues).


  1. Totally been there with trainers chasing my pony... I feel your pain! But the fitness plan sounds like a good one, and I completely agree that even at low levels these ponies have to almost be over-fit. Good luck getting super strong!!

  2. I gotta say, the extreme color contrast of that barn door vista really appeals to me!! What a pretty blue!!!

  3. Such a pony :) I know that I've also been in the same place and needed some help from the ground. It will probably help in the long run though and almost good to see that it's not necessarily an inability to go forward ;)

  4. It's amazing how they convince us that they just.can' It happens so easy and we don't want to be constantly smacking our little angels either. :)

    I'm glad that it was a good lesson.

  5. My mom's senior WB is basically a pony in a 15.2 package. He cannot be trusted about exercise. He will convince you he's exhausted and dying, until there is proper motivation (I've also been chased by an instructor with a lunge whip)