1. Definition of consistent (adj)
[ kən sístənt ]
1. coherent: reasonably or logically harmonious
2. reliable: able to maintain a particular standard or repeat a particular task with minimal variation
3. with common solutions: having a set of solutions in common, especially for two or more equations or inequalities
I have been doing a great job of being consistent in working with Katai. The past few weeks I’ve ridden 4-5 days a week, mostly it’s been 4 days a week, and she has been mostly great. Sunday’s ride was particularly good and while getting her to do things consistently during our ride is still a challenge, hey green baby horse, she has moments where it all comes together.
She has gotten really good about reaching into the contact which means I have more control of her balance and I’m able to pick her up from a nice long stretch into a more upright balance where I can start to feel her step under herself and push from behind rather than pulling herself around by her front end. J is also having me work on getting her to crawl at the walk which means that she moves one foot at a time as I ask, extremely slowly. It is a way for me to get control of every foot which J says I need to progress.
We are making progress with having her move off my leg as well. In fact she is getting sensitive enough to the leg cues that I need to improve my balance and riding position so that I don’t keep asking her to do things I don’t want. Little bugger just learns way too quickly. I need to get her to slow down to my level :P, in fact, she is almost doing walk pirouettes albeit very babyish ones.
Finally, we are working a lot on transitions. She gets really stuck at a certain speed, right now either trot or walk, and then doesn’t want to listen when I ask for either the slower or faster speed. This just needs some fine tuning and relaxed work since if I focus too much on them she gets tense and throws her head.
What I find really interesting about all of this is the order that we are teaching Katai different movements/abilities/expectations. In the past trainers that I have would focus on the simple stuff first. Things like walking and trotting patterns would have been the first thing we completed with her and we would have probably been doing things like practicing intro tests and maybe even starting some canter. With J, however, the focus is on correct work first and foremost. Before we ever even walk a circle we need our walk to be correct, our steering to be there, have the ability to stretch down into contact, etc. I am learning SO much so quickly and I can see how if I were just to let her do incorrect work now it would be that much harder to teach her how to do things correctly in the future. Right now because she is so green she just assumes that the correct way is the only way and her muscle memory will capture that correct movement and hopefully retain it so that she always, or almost always, moves in the proper way. If I were to let her bop around a circle like a green horse she would start to assume that was the correct way and in a year, or two, when we decided to teach her to carry herself properly she would be frustrated and confused wondering why we were changing things. I just find it really interesting to see how incredibly good she is at some things already when she’s only been really ridden consistently since late May/early June. I am also soooooo glad that I sought help when I did. I was pretty aware of what I was qualified to teach her and I got it just about right :)
Unfortunately tonight when I went to the barn to ride I noticed right away that something was off about her left eye and when I got closer I saw that it was a little swollen and she obviously didn't want to open it. Luckily Haley was at the barn with me and she has completed four years of vet school recently so I was able to ask her opinion. She suggested I flush it with saline and give it a day to heal before I decide whether to call the vet. I will update tomorrow when I go out and check on her.