Saturday, November 29, 2014

Weather wimp

In October, it was too hot to ride.  90? 100? No thank you.

In November, it was cold and wet and muddy.

Cold.  Also, dark.  Criteria for cooler: pony is visibly steaming after saddle is removed.

Muddy.  (Hint: not Confetti.)

A relatively dry stretch of trail, complete with puddles and mud.

We managed a few bright and warm days over Thanksgiving - for which I am very grateful!  I took the opportunity to let her get a good run in:

Pony goes ZOOM!

Social pony says she is done running, thank you.
And then, to wash and re-braid her mane, as it was looking rather sad lately:
Look at how WHITE it is immediately post-washing!

Mostly white, aside from the brass-stained section.  Oh well.

Today, however, we're starting off a week of badly needed rain. No real riding in the forecast - it will need at least a few days once the rain stops for anything to be good for a workout, and probably 24-48 hours for a moseying ride.

This is the round pen today - day one of the rain. 
After an hour moseying around the barn.  It's almost sunny!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Previous posts have had references to how Confetti can be dull to leg aids, stubborn, and generally lazy.  While I appreciate that she is no longer hyper-sensitive to anything that might possibly be a leg aid, it's become clear that we are too far on the other end of the spectrum.

The first (and primary) way that this is being addressed is by being very mindful of my leg aids.  Leg needs to be off if I do not really mean to ask.  If leg is on, it needs a response.  If a response is not forthcoming, there is a not-quite-immediate escalation with the dressage whip.

One day last week, I decided to try adding small English spurs.  Two-point and heel-dropping work has been suitably consistent that I was (mostly) confident there would be no unintentional spur contact.  Similar rules applied as above: calf pressure or very light spur, escalate next to corrective spur (not hard, but a 'you really did feel that!' spur), then finally to dressage whip as needed.

'Fetti was perfectly content to tune out the spur part of the time.  This was particularly evident when asking for a larger walk... but she's never good at that, so no great surprise there.  There were definitely times when a light cue was still insufficient.  It's not a magic fix, and I did not expect it to be: I trained the responsiveness out, I need to retrain some of it back in.

The most exciting part of the whole thing was how forwards she was, though.  The spurs may not have addressed 'dull to leg aids', but they fixed 'lazy', and I don't say that lightly.  We achieved a Big Trot heading away from home at least twice.  She offered several canters in places she doesn't usually.  I was able to ask for and get some extra effort up various hills - I know she's capable, but she frequently cannot be bothered to keep going.  And despite what MapMyHike says, we definitely hit a new speed flying up one of the fire roads, when a brisk canter shifted a few gears further up.

Verdict: useful occasionally for Serious Conditioning Rides, but not to be used on average rides or rides where I do not desire to lose all of her laziness.