I set up a lesson with Marie for Saturday so I could take Faxx and work on some first level stuff to prep him for some upcoming shows. I had to leave by 8:20 for my 9:45 lesson. I got up early so I could feed them all and let them out so he would have some time to roam around and loosen up before we had to go.
When I went to get Faxx, he had other ideas about being caught. I spent FORTY FIVE minutes chasing him around our ten-acre field. He’s been difficult to catch before, but I do the old ‘make them run until they’re happy to stop and be caught.’ This time, tho, Fling and Faeryn ALSO ran with him. At other times, Faxx would run, and Fling and Faeryn would look at him like he was crazy and continue grazing, so he’d make big loops around them because he really didn’t want to stay very far away. But yesterday they ALL ran ALL over the field and I could not hike from one spot to another fast enough to reallly keep them RUNNING. They had time to stop, rest and graze a little while I caught up to them! I kept looking at my watch and finally I cried ‘uncle’ and resorted to shaking a feed bucket to get them all in the tiny little space in front of the barn. I don’t like to do that – for one, I want them to be trained to LET ME catch them and secondly, with three of them in that tiny space, it’s an accident waiting to happen. I managed to let Fling and Faeryn OUT of the small paddock, and STILL had to CHASE Faxx to catch him! He was almost dripping wet when I put him in the trailer, and I was 10 minutes late for my lesson!
I was so mad at him – and was able to channel that anger in a positive way when it was windy as all get-out at Marie’s, and he wanted to gawk at stuff around the arena. I rode him VERY assertively and just BOOTED him forward or gave him a smack with the whip when he wanted to slow down to stare at anything! Faxx is quite unused to that! He is taking better contact, but still, when he’s asked to do lateral work, he often drops the contact and gets a bit inverted – making it almost impossible to sit his trot. Faxx has a huge trot, and unless he’s really through and connected, it’s really hard to sit. We worked on the evil ‘leg yield from K to X, circle left, circle right, leg yield left from X to H that’s in First level Test 3. Marie was laughing at me Saturday as I RANTED about this movement. I really want to know if the test writing committee EVER rode this movement, or had an honest-to-goodness first level rider try to do it? IMHO, it’s WAY too hard for First level. The movements by themselves are not beyond first level, but how they are combined is very difficult. I rode through it a few times and it just felt like a train wreck – and we overshot X each time. However Marie kept telling me I was closer than I thought and it did not look as bad as it felt to me. I’m dubious. 😉
I rode Fling on Saturday and she was a good girl. The canter is getting better – probably because I am learning to ‘sit’ deeper and not ‘rock’ or ‘pump.’ Her half pass work is awesome!
Faeryn is also really coming along. My last lesson with Debbie really helped me realize I need to sit as deeply as I can on her – and to also continue to encourage her to use her right hind more. She wants to pop her croup up – and by sitting deeper, I can dicourage that and encourage her to ‘sit’ more and bend her hocks. Sunday I rode her again and worked on lengthening at trot and canter. Wowser – she is starting to get a medium trot and canter. And ‘sitting’ much better through upward and downward transitions at both trot and canter. Also doing much better at the ‘hated’ First level Test 3 movement. 😉 And, starting to do ‘baby’ half pass with her at the walk.
Sunday afternoon I rode Faxx and he was SO good. It was windy, but he was focused and taking good contact. He is not CRAZY about the idea of working this hard – he is being a bit of what I call a “whiny teenager.” But mostly a very good boy, and he’s getting with the program. And to prove that every cloud has a silver lining – if my arena wasn’t unrideable I never would have been forced to ride Faxx out in the field. And even though I really was not happy with the idea – doing so has really improved my ‘relationship’ with him – I have discovered he is a very honest fellow. I mean, I knew that intellectually, but had lost a lot of trust in him over the cold backed bucking launch in Oct. 09. Now I have no reservations about riding him in the field – or anywhere for that matter. I’d even take him to the beach. At one time he was my hardest horse to ride, but I do not find that to be the case anymore.
By Sunday evening I was just feeling so very blessed to have three wonderful horses. Each of them have superior work ethics and they are each very fun to ride in their own way. Life is good.