Pearl returns back to
Not So Broken Pony Land this Friday, so I guess it’s time for an update/wrap-up on how our winter of Real Work went.
Spoiler alert: we’re not magically ready to hit the show ring at Second Level. But I didn’t expect us to be. My goal was basically to have her regularly walk, trot, canter, and maybe start looking a little more civilized, and we more than accomplished that.
I probably drove Christy crazy by not having any specific lesson goals other than “I dunno, ride better.” But we played around with little pieces of first level and some basic patterns. Leg yields: kinda functional, still have a hard time keeping her straight and not popping her shoulder out.
Shoulder in: fairly decent at the walk, work in progress at the trot. Haunches in: pretty ugly, but sort of getting a response. Counter canter: “omg you dumb human that’s the wrong lead,” but willing to figure out what I want. Halts: Pearl’s least favorite gait… definitely taking advantage of her anticipatory brain and letting her figure out that centerline = stop for a second.
Canter: will occasionally slow down to a three-beat gait that involves being aware we have back legs.
We (gasp) found a bit she will go in! It’s a pelham, so not show legal, but since we’re not hitting the show ring anytime soon I don’t really care. I mostly stay off the curb rein, but am having a killer time finding a baucher version. If anyone can find a happy mouth (knockoff) mullen mouth baucher IN A SIZE SIX holla at your girl.
The quality and consistency of her gaits and contact have definitely improved. She still moves like a creaky old lady. She still will alternate between giraffing and ducking under the bit. But she is willing to maintain an honest contact and bend and flex both ways, which is an improvement over where we started from.
Pearl turned 18 on the 19th of this month. I caved and let her do her favorite thing, JUMPING. I’ll always be disappointed that we were never able to return to serious work over fences, but even in the few little lines we jumped I can tell the improvement the dressage work has made to her pace control and willingness to wait instead of just going fast and flat.
It has been a challenge for me going from “do whatever I want in somebody’s backyard” to a traditional boarding barn where I have to (omg the horror) share space and follow rules. Sharing the indoor was a challenge at times, but better than no indoor at all. We had a really rough time when the horses were inside for a couple weeks straight while the grass grew in, and then in on Sundays because of a barn staff change. We had a lot of rides that were more like human lunge line/just don’t fall off than actual productive training, but again better than not riding at all.
If I decide to snowbird again next winter, I will definitely be looking at barns with more workable all weather turnout arrangements.
Of course, not everything can be sunshine and gravy. While she has been serviceably sound most of the winter, she was a little lame on Friday but worked out of it, OK Sunday, pretty sore again Monday. She managed to unweld and jam the bar of her shoe up under the branch, and she was a couple weeks overdue, so I’m hoping that’s the main contributor
and also probably because I jumped her but I think she has #noregrets
She didn’t look too terrible running around for her pre-farrier workout this morning though, so I’m knocking on wood that it’s just a minor and temporary setback.
In conclusion: it wasn’t magical and perfect and the solution to all my problems. But we got shit done and I’d do it again.
Oh, and Lacy is still the fanciest thing ever and I will never be over her, but I’m glad she has a new home that can do her justice.