I know you've been patiently waiting for the latest Snot Report.... so, without further adieu: The forecast is DRY (with a slight chance of slobber!). YAAAAY.
I went out to the barn on Sunday and he still had a little snot, so I settled for grooming him and popping him back out in the pasture. I really wanted to air on the side of caution. Its not like we are competing or have any deadlines with which we are working.
Monday, I took the day off work to catch up on housework and sleep (we went to a Tom Petty concert a couple hours away and didn't get to sleep until really late Sunday night). After the house work, I was getting ready to go to the barn (wearing jeans and boots just in case Granite looked well enough to ride). Areosmith "Back in the Saddle" came on TK's Ipod shuffle (he equates it to a Magic 8 Ball) and he told me that it was a good sign and that I'd get to ride. TK is ALWAYS right, and proved so in this instance as well :) I got to the barn to find Granite hauling ass around the pasture chasing Reno. He looked good and healthy and his nose was clear, so I saddled up-- for the first time in a month! This was also the first time TK has ever seen me ride!
Granite was hyper (a rarity) and kind of bratty. He tried to stop at the gate and I tapped him with the crop (I went with no spurs but I carry a crop) and he kicked out. This is the first time he has EVER done that. So I kicked and cropped to tell him that was UNACCEPTABLE! And then he had a bucking fit (also a first). I was really worried bc TK is very protective over me and I was afraid seeing that would make him resent Granite or be concerned when I go riding. I don't want any of that bc he is so very supportive of my riding and my horse. I was wrong however and he told me while he was surprised, he trusted me and my riding abilities. Yay (I love that man!). Anyway, I think I won the argument with Granite. He got his act together and the rest of the ride, while sloppy, was uneventful.
I headed out to the barn yesterday to find a dry nosed, bright eyed, obese grey horse. I love Tuesdays because I get to go to the barn (ride?!) then go running at the park then I go to the grocery store then home to cook (shocking) for the bf then we get to relax. It is the best day of the week. Yesterday was even better because not only did I get to ride, but it was probably the best ride we have had since I first got him back from Becky!! He was really attentive and cooperative!
Things I tried to focus on:
-Bending into corners
-Leg yielding (especially when he decides to come off the rail)
-Walking over poles
-Weaving in and out of cones (using bending and leg yields)
Things I avoided:
-Asking for collection
-Long stretches of any one activity
I basically wanted to engage his mind using bending and leg yielding exercises. I wanted to keep him on his toes by weaving in and out of things and going over poles. He gets frustrated when we do one thing for too long, so I wanted to keep him thinking and moving. I wanted nice trot transitions, but left his head alone (i.e. in the air and chewing on the bit--- grrrrr) at the trot and just focuses on moving forward freely. We did some backing up and turns on the forehand. I had a very responsive and cooperative boy and I left the arena feeling like all of my frustration was actually worth it if I can have rides like this more often!
Was my ride perfect? Hell no! Was it what I was hoping we would be doing in late September of his 3rd year. NOPE, I thought we would be much farther along at this point. But-- we made progress. I asked for a few basic things of him, and while I may not have gotten the desired responses immediately, I ended up getting them! I was really pleased because I made corrections, and I got reactions and if I can get that more often, I feel like he and I can move forward together :)