Friday, June 5, 2015

Evil genius

Three verticals, four poles.  Nothing higher than 2'6".  How could this ever be evil?

Easy when it's on two 15 meter circles and you're riding a draft cross with a rather large turning radius.  This was Trainer A's exercise for the day.  After a nice warm up on the flat, really getting Papi to stretch through his neck on both sides, we popped him over a cross rail and worked on him trotting right to the base and pushing off evenly behind.

Then we moved on to this exercise, which was not a walk in the park.  To do it right, it's two 15 meter circles that touch at the center jump.  There are poles before and after the two end jumps, set one stride away on those circles.  The poles did make it a lot easier, but man, if your geometery was off the distances went to hell quick.  Great exercise for catching a pair out.  Not so difficult that it's ugly because you're just trying to survive, the ground poles really helped with the distance to those fences, but little errors that don't cause a problem in a regular course are suddenly very obvious.  You screwed up, you got a crap distance to the center fence.  The down side was that if you got out of whack, it was hard to get it back.  I usually had to pull out of the pattern and start over, just not much time to make a big correction. 

We had some good rounds, we had some sticky rounds.  It was good for making me aware just how much managing his shoulders need.  If I didn't watch those shoulders, they'd run off to the outside and my steering would completely fall apart.  He's weaker on his right, so he usually tries to pop out the left shoulder and avoid really sitting on his right hind.  If I stay on top of it, he jumps beautifully.  If I don't, it turns into a choppy mess.  The great news was that after our work on the cross rail, I could get him to the deep distance so even if the jump wasn't right, it was a quality jump and not a flyer.

Even on the flat we're working hard on getting him evened up and getting that topline up.  It's starting to work.  The muscle definition in the last third of his neck is shifting away from the braced underside and toward a more filled in topline.  A lot of massage, liniment, and his new Thinline pad seem to be helping him get over his right side resistance.  It's going to be a long, slow grind to reshape that much muscle, but it's rewarding to see a difference already and it hasn't even been a full month of me riding him five times a week.

He has my sympathies on back pain.  I was putting on my spurs this morning and twisted just wrong.  I guess the hubby will be doing the heavy lifting and dishes this weekend, since something in my back hates me.  I made it through the lesson without it affecting me too much, but I think I'll be spending part of today flat on my back, trying to convince my body to not self destruct any more.  It probably didn't help that we got my Papi pushing off straight and using his shoulders well, that's a lot of movement to manage.  He's got a nice, natural jumping form.  Big Eq horse he ain't, since he uses himself so much I can't just sit there and look pretty.  Hopefully my jumping saddle gets here before he actually jumps me clean out of the tack.

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