We are stiff.
Going to the right is no problem right now, but doing any type of bending to the left is almost impossible. It's been coming on now for a bit, and of couse if you don't address the problem soon, it just gets worse. I've started including simple suppling exercises with Koda to get him to relax and bend through not only his neck and poll, but body as well. During our flat ride over the weekend, I stopped after doing a good 15 min warmup and just asked him to flex his poll and neck to both sides. He wasn't sure what I was asking to begin with (uh oh! Holes in training...) but got it after a bit. I'm not sure if he was struggling with the flexing or just irritated with the mosquitoes buzzing around his face (flipping his nose around) but he did come down and hold the flexions I asked without tension.
After that quick exercise, we slid into a ton of sitting trot circles. In our back pasture there are old fence posts with no fencing on them. I used them as pylons and we did weaving, we circled through, did lazy eights, did proper figure eights, leg yields out of the circle, all around. As the work progressed, Koda relaxed into the circles and we had some nice progress. Once we stepped into the canter work though, he became tight and fussy. I think the problem is I'm expecting him to move as well in the canter as he does in the trot which is completely unfair since we do more work in the trot than the canter.
Remedy: More canter work!
In just less than 2 weeks time I'll be going to a 3-day clinic with a VERY good clinician and I want Koda and I to be fit and ready. I know it sounds weird, but I don't want to be THAT rider at the clinic... The next two weeks are going to be a dressage bootcamp for us, working in the back field with plenty of hacks to keep us sane. Object of the bootcamp - relaxation.
We're now into full blown mosquito season and you know it's a bad year when people who have lived here their entire lives start to complain. The arena is booked up all week, so I only have it for the weekends (early morning!) so we'll be using the DEET liberally. Its bad when you go to rub your horse's face and kill a dozen mosquitoes at the same time... gross!
Anyways, time to dust off my inner dressage diva and get down to work! I know miracles can't happen in two weeks, but that doesn't mean you can't try ;)
Happy Monday Everyone!