Saturday, October 29, 2016

Beware of The Mare

Both of us agree that the weather can suck it.
I'm not happy with our weather right now. Spring and Fall when our weather changes and the pressure changes I always end up with bad migraines. This year in particular there have been so many swings back and forth that it feels like my head will never feel normal again. I've been tired, crabby, and in pain which has led me to not feel motivated to blog or to ride. Also with the recent FLSA change, which is going into effect on December 1st, and other year end things work has been crazy. With all of that I've been setting a goal to ride 4 days per week rather than 5.

For the most part Katai has been fine with that but today between still being madly in heat (seriously weather just go away. It's ok to be warm, or to be cold but please make up your mind) and a less consistent riding schedule she was full of spice.

I feel like we're living in England with this cold rainy weather
Also, she really wasn't bad, at all, but I also had my trainer hat on and so I was pushing things a bit more than normal. I feel like around once a week I really feel up to being a real thinking rider and actively training. Clearly I'm aware that I'm training her ever ride and I'm always working on things but this was one of those rides where I went into the ride knowing that I was going to push her a bit. For this ride that meant changing up the normal routine a bit more. It probably wasn't a good time to do that when I knew she was in heat but meh, it ended up being a great thing.

To start I got her into a good trot. She normally doesn't get as through until after she canters but she felt really good today. Because she felt so good early in the ride I asked for canter fairly quickly. She went into the canter pretty nicely but started off on the incorrect lead, my fault. I fixed it and did a good amount of canter on 20 meter circles and straight down the long side. After I really felt that she was on my aids and going well I went to trot across the diagonal and then towards the end went to leg yield and right into canter in the other direction once I hit the wall. Video below, I can really see some improvement!

In that transition she didn't do anything naughty but porpoised slightly as we went which she hasn't been doing at all so I knew she was feeling tight and extra full of energy. That was her tougher side so I got about as much canter but it wasn't quite as good as in the other direction and then back to trot. I gave her a walk break and then back to trot.

She was a bit tight to start off (she still doesn't think she should have to trot after we canter, my fault for always letting her be done after we cantered) but after a couple of serpentines and leg yields she loosened up. At that point I actually went back to canter which she did really, really well. She went right into the transition, very nicely. I was actually kind of impressed with just how nicely she cantered.
Slightly failed experiment with taking phone pictures
Very happy with that hind leg!
After another walk break I asked her to go back to trot, which I knew would mess with her, and she was quite hot, tense, and sassy. Clearly I was completely incorrect in asking her to do that since Katai knows much more about how our riding plan works :)

However, she did get nice and stretchy and felt great. She was stretching down and listening so I went to do a walk transition but didn't want to give her the reins right away. I hadn't put tons of thought into it, just knew that I can't keep just giving the reins away when I bring her back to walk. That really messed with her and she lost the remainder of her pony mind. She jigged, jogged, pranced, and started rearing. Major sass attack time.

Taking pictures with my apple watch
Children, don't Watch and Ride
There are times when I would just have called it after an amazing canter, or amazing trot but I can't keep doing that every time. Sometimes she has to just be an adult and my plan had been to have her take about three steps with some contact and then let it go and be done. Since she spazzed out though we ended up with another 5-6 minutes of riding and sassing with me talking to her, staying calm and relaxed, and trying to get her brain back between her ears.

I wasn't asking for much contact and eventually she did a good job of walking and relaxed a bit and then I really pushed my luck and asked for another halt/walk transition and she walked off softly with contact so I was done.

I was really proud of how I handled it and the progress that we made and I know that I need to just keep chipping away at this little monster I created with following too much of a routine.


  1. The weather has them all feeling so sassy! It sounds like you still had a very successful ride.

  2. I've been getting tons of headaches this fall too with the weather changes. It's been quite annoying.
    I love how you planned that ride and worked through it all. I swear we have the same mare....