Sunday, December 18, 2011


What a long and full Sunday it's been... This morning, Starbuck and I were doing some transitions on the longe line to warm up and see what kind of mood she was in in hopes of riding her later on.  But right when I asked her to canter, she slipped and tumbled over onto her side, landing heavily on her hip.  Turns out that the arena had been watered to keep the sand from flying away in the wind we've been having and the spot I had asked her to canter in was all slippery... oops!  Here's a photo of her all dirty, poor baby!

When she got up I noticed she was limping a little so I asked my instructor if we should turn in or keep working and she said to do some flexibility exercises like small circles, figure eights and walking over ground poles, then let her rest a while.

Well, we had never done figure eights before so Marina graciously showed us how; the idea is for the human to do the following:
  1. Place two markers about 6 feet apart on the ground in front of you.
  2. Stand between the markers but about 3 feet away from them without moving your feet.
  3. Drive the horse away around one of the markers.
  4. Bring the horse back toward you, then send it away around the other marker.
  5. Bring it back toward you and reward with a moment's rest and rubbing :-)
At first it was really hard!  Especially for me just to coordinate my movements and not run around more than her, and for her to calm down enough (after the fall she was kind of jittery) to pay attention, but in the end we got pretty good at it!  The video is taken after trying it out in the morning, then giving her (and me) a couple of hours of rest at lunch and then working on it some more in the afternoon.  She's a little distracted because the kids were playing soccer on the other side of the arena, and I was definitely slacking way too much on the "rest and reward" front (you can tell she gets frustrated because I keep forgetting to tell her she's doing good), but otherwise I think we did pretty good!  And it's a new, low key exercise we can do to spice up my often-boring lesson plans-- always welcome to both of us :-)
In the end she wasn't even limping, I think she was just kind of sore from the impact but I'll check again tomorrow to make sure there's no swelling or hotspots anywhere and I was sure to make her bed extra cushy this evening so she can lie down and sleep in comfort.  It's true I didn't get to ride this weekend like I wanted to but I still think we accomplished a lot: yesterday we worked in the roundpen in extremely windy weather (I figure every time we work together when something "scary" is going on without anything bad happening to her she'll be a little more trusting) and today we learned to do figure eights... maybe I can ride again one day at lunch time this week.

No comments: