Sorry about my hiatus, I have just been in a slump and it's driving me crazy. I rode this past weekend, both days, and am very happy with what we did, but need to figure out how to balance what we're doing. I've never been in the position where all of my rides are back to back with a large gap inbetween. I know as an athlete myself (rowed while at university and did some coaching) that this isn't the ideal schedule for keeping a horse (and myself!) riding fit. After our ride on Monday (yay for long weekends) Koda stood around while I taught a Pony Club lesson. I noticed that after my teaching, his ankles and pasterns were slightly warm and swollen. Nothing to write home about, but this horse has never had this before so of course I was worried. I think it's because our riding schedule is so crammed into a few days, then nothing, plus the standing around didn't help him any either. Does anyone have ideas that I could do to help alleviate Koda's swelling yet still try and keep a 'riding on the weekend only' schedule for winter time?
Our rides were fairly basic, did some lateral work, did some no-stirrup work (poor legs), and worked on a simple line. I'm discovering that when ridden properly (aka, RIDDEN), Koda will lay down some nice lines to the point of having the style of a lower level hunter! Of course that isn't what we're aiming for, but I have dabbled in the hunter world a time or two and wouldn't mind going to a few shows like that if they're close by (less than 6 hours away, that is ;) ). We had a bit of a OH SH!T moment when I waited for the short spot, he went for the waaaaaay long spot and we punched the pole out and almost went down. Thank you shoulders and training for teaching me to STAY BACK! If we had a camera, my position would have been that good ol' classic "catching the cab" ride... not pretty, but saved our butts. Thank goodness I had my long hacking reins on the bridle too. Koda punched out the pole hard enough to take the cups with us. My friends were a little shocked and shook up. I guess it looked worse than it felt since my thoughts were "ok, let's try that again and actually RIDE this time". This time around, I had my legs on, looking up, compressed the stride just a little to get that nice quality canter and he flew.
The next ride we did more flat work and worked on trying to bend and relax a bit more. Koda was still being a bit of a nut about the corners (silly pony) but he settled down nicely and put in some good work. I think he was a bit tired from the day before so we took it easy, although I did jump over a few sticks that day as well. I love having a horse that isn't too green about jumping and is game if his rider is! As you guys know, Koda is green about a lot of things, but I think because of his age there are less antics about new things. This winter it's all about exposure to new, crazy stuff (going to raid work for all of our decorations), and just work towards him not having a complete melt-down at competitions this coming spring/summer.
A girl can dream!