Friday, January 11, 2013

Rollbacks & Lengthenings

Today was interesting - our usual mix of good and bad, though overall I would call today a really good ride.

Started off with rollbacks. This is something we had trouble with in our clinic with KO though I don't know why since usually Jetta is usually quite responsive when being asked to make tight turns. I set out some cones just to give myself a marker of where to ask for the turn and how tight it should be. We started out at the trot and as soon as I put my leg on she "had a moment" and turned into my leg and gave a nice big buck/kick at my leg.

Oh just lovely.

I put her in a tight circle so she couldn't kick and just kept my leg on till she accepted it and did that with the other direction too. She was much worse with my left leg. She's not in heat (thank goodness she finally decided it really is winter time and that she can go into anestrus!) so I think maybe it was just my cold boot against her clipped sides since she eventually settled down a bit.

It was freezing today. I'm so glad that I don't live somewhere where it's in the single or negative digits because today with a high of 39 was cold enough and by the time I got to the barn it was 37. Brrr.

Back to our exercise we went, did it at the trot a few times then cantered. We did it a few times in each direction, asking for a simple change in between which she didn't get too upset about. She did so well. I felt like I could almost go run a barrel pattern afterwards, lol. Though I have no idea how I'd get her to stop after we'd run a pattern because we were just cantering and she was getting pretty strong by the end. She thinks it's fun too apparently!

We did have one little bobble in the middle where I went to do a rollback not around the cone so we'd be lined up and on the correct lead to do a rollback around the cone, when she skidded a bit in a slightly wetter part of the arena and she got all upset about that. I put her back in the canter and went to canter past the area she slipped and she spooked at her skid mark, lol. It was pretty funny and after that she kept giving it the hairy eyeball whenever we passed by.

After I'd gotten a near perfect rollback in each direction, where I basically just used my seat and legs to do the turn we went back to trot work. Her trot has just been so nice lately. I feel like we swing between having this lovely, beautiful trot and an ugly, choppy, rushy trot so I'm happy for the time being that we're on the good side of that pendulum.

We worked a little bit on lengthenings today, though mostly on not doing them. As in going across the diagonal and halting in the middle then trotting on again. If she has a bad halt then she gets to back up. This way she won't anticipate them so badly (mares, what can I say? They're too smart for their own good!) and will hopefully listen if I do ask her for a lengthening and she gets going to fast or on her forehand I can sit her back a little more.

"My" cat begging to come home with me!
We did get some lovely lengthenings though. For every ten times we went across the diagonal, I asked for one lengthening and we got at least two awesome ones where I could look down and see her toes flicking out in front of her and I didn't feel like we were running down a hill.

While doing our trot work the barn owner's two dogs were scampering up and down the aisle and for some reason Jetta took exception to them and had two huge spooks where she scooted halfway across the arena. Such a dork, it's not like it's something unusual and they're little dogs! She's not a spooky horse so I'm just attributing it to the cold weather. 

The show we want to go to is in February isn't until the end of the month, but I'm not sure if we'll be ready quite yet to debut our First Level work. I feel like she'll get too excited about the lengthening in the canter and then the rest of our test will just snowball, but I have a few lessons coming up so we'll get some pointers and maybe as the closing date gets closer, we might go for a First Level test!

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