Tonight we had a great ride. I gave Dreamy Monday off of course, and then Tuesday I was unable to ride, and then Wed. it was so darned hot I just couldn't summon the energy to ride at 8PM (which was the only time I could ride). UGG.
So tonight I finally got on and the weather was perfect. :D Dreamy was a bit funny about her near hind leg on the ties while tacking up. Sometimes she does this hoof stomping/kicking thing, and I think it is related to her heat cycles. It is like she is ticklish around her stifle/gaskin on that leg and does not kick, but stomps hard enough to let me know she means business. Hmmm...
And when picking her feet, her joints were REALLY creaky. I have never really heard her joints before. Not good. She has been on Corta-Flx now for almost 2 years as a preventative. Now I am wondering if I need to find something else for her because obviously she NEEDS a joint supplement at this point. Hmmm...
SO.....the first few minutes of the ride she is really stiff. Oh boy, what is NQR with my mare??? :( She was completely sound but just really stiff). After some good walk and trot warm up, she was fine. So I am definitely going to be eagle eyed (when am I not??) but I am also trying to rationalize it by telling myself she came out of it fine and maybe 3 days off was NOT a good thing.
OK, so the ride itself. :) She was great at the trot, no leaning, no rushing, no fussiness with her head, which are all of her usual tricks. So I tried a canter......which mind you I have not done in about 9 days. For some reason I put so much pressure on myself (really, you say???) that with only having to ride the Intro B test at Green Acres last Sunday I figured I would focus on just walk trot for the week leading up to it. So all last week we did movements from the test, as well as a ton of walk/trot/halt transitions and THOUSANDS of 10 m. turns (as in up the center line). And well, I suppose it paid off with our best score EVER of a 27.3. :D
So I figured that if she was feeling achy/stiff earlier, it could make our canter a disaster. Coupled with no cantering for so long, and I was sure this would be a fight.
Um....nothing like a horse to keep you guessing. This mare is amazing. She picked up both leads, did not rush, did not lug, stayed soft, stayed STRAIGHT (!!!) and it was a true 3 beat canter in BOTH directions! YAY! And then the amazing part....NO PACING at all! She has only ever paced in the downwards transitions from canter to trot. It is a canter, canter, 2-3 quick little pacey steps, trot, trot, trot......it is a balance and strength issue. And a few times in the last week before our NO CANTERING week (LOL) she had stopped pacing to the right (her stronger side). I nearly cried the first time she did that. Silly me. :)
But tonight there was no pace. Holy Sh!t I kept thinking. So I tested it out about 5 times in each direction. Uhhh, no pace. NO PACE? And she actually felt balanced for the first time ever. There was no motorcycle leaning in the turns! LOL!
This is one of those moments when all of our struggles in the past are forgotten. We actually have accomplished something that I NEVER thought we would accomplish. And mind you, we have only been working on her canter since March 2008. As in 4 months. Dreamy is a REAL dressage horse after all! :) I was so proud of her that at that point (40 mins.) we were done. There was nothing else I could ask of her tonight that would top that. (We also worked on our downward trot to walk transitions too.....all I can hear is my instructor saying MAKE IT NICE! LOL! And I think 98% of them tonight really were nice.)
So just to keep myself in line, I am going to assume it was a fluke. ROFL! Because the one thing I know for sure in training horses is that you take 2 steps forward and 5 steps back. So tomorrow night there will probably be a post here about what an awful ride I had. Nah, I wont say that. I am just so proud of my girl and how far she has come. And there is absolutely NO WAY I would have been able to do this without the help of my instructor Judy W. She is just fantastic. My next lesson is Tuesday July 15, so I really really hope Dreamy and I will be able to show her what we were able to do tonight.
Between our win on Sunday and no pacing tonight, I am a happy horse mom. :D