Saturday, May 28, 2016

Slow and steady

It's 90* out today with a heat index of 95*.  For anyone that's curious, yes, that is absolutely bonkers for May in New Hampshire.  Especially when I was wearing sweatshirts right up through April.  I don't think Mother Nature is drunk anymore.  I think she's on 'shrooms.

Between the weather and me fighting off some cruddy health, our lesson consisted of a walk through the woods, up the hill, and back to the barn.  Trainer A took Baby Pony and we just relaxed.  That was enough to get poor papi covered in sweat.  He's still shedding out, as evidenced by the shovel full of hair that I got off of him today.  I'm so glad I decided to clip him or he would not have survived today.  I'll have to remember that for next year.  Spring clipping is a thing Theo has to have.

As much as the weather, work, and my health has been making me grouchy and throwing me off from my hard core performance horse training bit, it's probably a good thing.  Theo doesn't want me to buckle down and really hammer the dressage lessons home. Frankly, Theo doesn't want to do anything that doesn't involve a lot of food and the occasional roll followed by a good session with a curry comb or massage therapist.

Theo's favorite thing

Theo does enjoy his work days now.  He understands that effort is rewarded with pats and cookies, so he's willing to put in that effort.  He's put on enough muscle and fitness that working for an hour isn't overly difficult so he's willing to do it in exchange for praise and sugar.  That doesn't mean he looks forward to doing this stuff.  It just means that he enjoys the work more than his other options, like having someone flopping on him and using his mouth as a balance point.  He's strong enough that he feels good when he lifts and carries himself with power.  He gets a pleasant feeling from the work and he's encouraged to show off.  So long as we can keep it so that it feels good and he associates the work with rewards, we'll be able to keep going forward.

I have to make sure I don't fall into the trap of schooling hard day in and day out.  Theo's the type of horse that will tell me where I can stick it.  Violently.  Today he was a trail pony and he enjoyed that.  Tomorrow the heat is supposed to break and I'm planning on going out for a hard canter on the trails.  I think I'll request a jumping lesson for Tuesday .  I'm not going to get anywhere with that correct flex right if he hates the fact he's going in the ring again.  Time to mix it up.

It's not like it's a race.  We have years to get that shoulder in straightened out and get that lengthen turned into a medium.

 Still riding turtle style

We'll leave the stretchy circle tune up for another couple days.  His hair can look wild and wooly for another week.  The jump saddle is looking awfully dusty.  I think it's time to fix that.  Our right lead canter will still be there next week.

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