Fling is a high energy horse and I really hate to lock her in a stall for any length of time unless absolutely necessary. but I am thinking that’s what I will have to do to finally get her 100%. When I watch her trot, it’s like this: sound, sound, sound, ouch, sound, sound, sound, sound, ouch, ouch, sound, sound…. Of course she can go bombing across the pasture at a full-out gallop with absolutely no trouble — and that’s part of the problem. She is not being ‘quiet’ enough to let her bruised sole completely heal. I started painting the soles of her feet with iodine – that’s supposed to toughen them up. Fling likes to work and she keeps looking at me as if to say “Why aren’t you riding ME?” whenever I get Faxx or Faeryn out of the field and leave her. She follows all the way to the fence and stands there, just watching.
Faeryn’s canter felt especially wonky and disorganized to me today, so I decided to start doing short stretches of canter, with many transitions from trot to canter and also walk to canter (which is new to her, and still difficult). The canter depart itself is a good ‘strength-building’ exercise and after a few I could see that it had already helped her ‘organize’ her canter better. One thing Faeryn likes to do, which feels great and is fun, is just leap into the canter. As much as it makes me smile when she does that, I need to break her of that habit. Leaping is ok to a degree, but instead of leaping up and forward – she is just mainly leaping up — and even tho she does it with her back really UP — it’s not correct because it’s not FORWARD enough.
I often wonder how a horse feels about dressage – a sport where the work just continually gets harder, and when we teach them one thing, we are always going back and sort of ‘undoing’ what we taught them to make it better. For instance, when Faeryn was first under saddle, almost any canter depart was good, as long as it was on the correct lead. Now, not only does it have to be on the correct lead, it needs to be forward, upward, prompt, in correct bend, yada yada yada. It really is a wonder every dressage horse just doesn’t go on strike at some point.
I do think it is easier if you take a horse and do dressage from the get-go — rather than taking a horse who has been used to not working very hard, and then ask him to be a dressage horse. With mine, I figure they have no idea there is anything easier to do, since they’ve been dressage horses from the beginning. Or, probably horses don’t quite think about things as much as I do. 😉 Their thought process is probably something like this: “yea, food!” Yipee — turnout! Work — ok. Yea! Food!” Except for Fling. Sometimes I think Fling is thinking about quantum physics in her spare time.