Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I've been bad about this lately, but: life goes on. Tris is doing well, a teensy bit stronger and more balanced each time. Canter transitions are more through each time we try them, and the trot is really starting to develop some power. The more dressage-y he gets, the more Spanish he looks, which is a nice and unexpected bonus.

Last night, we toyed with counterbending on a 20m circle, walk and trot. He fussed and fretted and wouldn't, couldn't...until he came through beautifully for one step. I could practically see his brain go BOOM. Following close behind was a "wait...wait a minute...ACK" as he realized how completely his outside hind had engaged. Then he retreated and we spent the rest of the lesson getting back there. But by the end, much better.

My own seat and legs are...in and out. Monday night: plugged in from start to finish. Last night: always just a teensy bit out of reach; I wasn't riding poorly, but I had nowhere near the feeling of solidity and facility that I'd gotten so effortlessly on Monday.

One last ride on Friday, perhaps in a jump lesson, and then C. will have the riding of him as I will be away for a much-needed vacation.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So yeah. I knew we'd take our steps back at some point.

After a nice jump clinic on Sunday, Tris came out for his lesson tonight and decided the pile of poles in the corner were scary. He skittered sideways, I applied the dressage whip and pushed him through the corner anyway.

Then we got to the corner with the chairs, where T. was sitting, and it was like a little light bulb went off in his head: if I pretend that's scary, too, then I don't have to work!

Cue 50 solid minutes of: spook, half-rear, spin to the left, land, try to bolt. Everywhere. All the time. It was one big battle royale of who gets to control Tristan's shoulders now?

I also got a nice little remedial lesson from T. in riding a hard spook. Tristan doesn't spook! This horse is not afraid of ANYTHING. But: turn his head to the inside, boot him off the inside leg, half-halt him on the outside, leg-yield him through the turn. Lather, rinse, repeat, even when that means a 3m spinning skid of a circle, as long as I'm keeping him doing what I want.

We settled for actually working in a 20m circle in the middle of the ring; lots and lots and lots of leg-yields, spirals, and transitions. He got a 2 minute walk break only once; other than that, I kept his little butt moving. Some of the work, especially the canters and the transitions, was quite nice, but I was really far too pissed off at him to praise him as I should've.

By the end, we trotted past T. on the bit, but ohhhhhhhh my was I ever considering selling him to the lowest bidder. Or just putting him out front with a sign - "Free Horse!"

Sigh. Could've been weather, could've been soreness from jumping, could've just been he woke up on the wrong side of the stall that morning.

I emailed C. to give him time off until Saturday, see if that sorts his brain out, and I will jump on Saturday morning. Fingers crossed this was an aberration that he's had time to regret, and not a new trend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Very mixed; Tris was doing spectacularly for a little while, and then on Tuesday we had the most godawful ride we've had in months. He was not willing to be cooperative, I succumbed to getting good and pissed off instead of staying impassive and correct, and T. had to remind me, once again, that ain't nothing going to get done unless I can actually keep my $#@$@ leg on my $#@$@ horse.

But, in lieu of that, a fun story.

Among the things you probably don't know about my horse: he farts. Like, a lot. Like, he's known for it. Lead him off the cross ties - fart with every step down the aisle. Step into the ring - let a long one loose.

Then he tenses up for the first 10 minutes or so of the ride, and then he lets loose with every stride, sometimes as long as a few 20m circles. It's rather amusing, and I've decided to take it as a sign that he's releasing tension. T. says he's also making room to suck his belly up and engage his core muscles, come up through his back.

During my lesson last Tuesday, several of the young girls were cooling out their ponies bareback during my warmup, and Tris, as he does, let loose. I learned then that a) they think it's hilarious, and b) that they've decided it's part of his system of locomotion.

I quote, "how else is he going to get the extra push he needs to go forward?"

So nice to have a horse with capital-P-Personality...