Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunny, with a (Lack of) Forward

It may not have quite hit 50' today, but 44' is plenty warm for mid-January.   I was just tired today for some reason, but it was too nice not to ride.  I didn't have the energy to monkey with the trailer though, so I tossed the lighter western saddle I've been using on Thunder, a pad, a couple of brushes and Sunny's bridle in the car.  For one day they can share - I can only ride one at once, after all!

The boys were napping in the lot, which I kind of expected.  I was disappointed though, to see that no one was home - I'll ride Sunny with no back-up, but Thunder and I haven't progressed to the point that I'm brave enough to tackle him without someone around.

I gave them both a quick brushing, saddled Sunny, and walked him out and down around to the field where we usually work. The standard warm-up routine and a pause to tighten the cinch, and we were off.... well, sort of. 

I'm not sure what I'm doing, but when I ask for an upward transition, I'm getting collection - which is good - but not a transition.  I didn't feel like he was being lazy - just sort of stuck in compressed mode.  I didn't have spurs on, which might have helped, but since he was trying, maybe not.  Eventually we ironed out walk to trot, but upward to canter remained... odd.  He felt sort of like riding a completely squeezed together accordion, which was truly bizarre.  On the plus side, when he did finally rock up into the canter it was easy and much more collected....

Since I wasn't having much luck figuring out a fix for that issue, I changed gears and worked on half-passing.  To the left has been getting better and better, but right has been a struggle.  For the first time we managed a couple of decently put together sections of half-pass right.  I concentrated on really holding his right shoulder and pushing his left hip over, keeping my weight back and looking ahead instead of down, and lo and behold, progress.

We spiraled, I did some two-point... same old, same old.  Thunder hung out for a while along the east fence, nibbling grass with occasional pauses to watch the show, then disappeared back up into the lot for another nap. 

An hour with Sunny, but I petered out on Thunder.  The prediction for tomorrow's high is 15', which I'm sorry, is just too cold to think about riding, but hopefully it will warm up into the 30's by mid-week and I can keep our string of winter rides going..

When I left the boys were hanging their heads over the gate watching me go as if they'd had no attention whatsoever.  They are such a trip sometimes.


BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I wonder if Sunny is figuring out how to collect but does not quite have the strength to 'lift off'?

Just wondering out loud, cause I actually have the opposite problem with Frosty...when he is compressed, he wants to lift into the next gait (and often does) rather than stretch forward.

SunnySD said...

Huh... that hadn't occurred to me, but it would make a lot of sense. He's gone hollow for a long time, and he's certainly building/using new muscles. Since the weather's been iffy, he's not getting ridden as much and even with access to pasture, he's doing a lot more standing around the bale, which certainly isn't helping him stay in shape...

He seems to have an easier time in the big arena during lessons, but there's more space to build momentum AND I have someone to prompt me to stay in correct (not leaning forward) position, which makes it a lot easier on Sunny...

Thanks - you've definitely given me something to think about!