Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dress Rehearsals Are Important

Dress rehearsals are important.
I started with my western show bridle – adjusted to the smallest holes…
It *looked* like it fit fine…

I am adorable.

I lunged the pony to see how she was moving…  I’m paranoid about sudden, unexplainable ‘offness’ appearing since the driving disaster, so I’ll probably lunge every single ride for a while.  It went something like this:
Fancy Pony:  I want to canter!!
Me:  I asked you to trot.
FP:  I want to canter!!
Me:  No.  Trot.
FP:  But, I told you, I want to canter!
Me:  WHOA.
FP:  Lalalala…
Me:  *shank*
FP:  (full halt)  What was that for?  I just wanted to canter… *pout*
Look how cute I am!  How can you resist me?
Try it again…
Me:  Trot.
Me:  Trot.
FP:  Ok.  Trot.
Me:  You are the most perfect pony on the planet!
FP:  **beams**

Me:  (a little while later)  Canter.
FP:  Oh, canter is my favorite gait!!

Under saddle warm-up went swimmingly, and when we settled into actual work, I found her responsive to my body and half-halting off of my thighs!  It was glorious!!
I also introduced barrels for going around (as opposed to barrels for jumping).  I only set up 2 of them, and I walked up to the first one then halted before circling it a couple times and halting again.  Then, I walked to the next one.  Halt.  Circle. Halt.  Do that a few times.
Back to the rail work.  Variability in the trot and canter was nice!  The walk-canter transitions are a little sticky through the thick western fenders, but they will come…
Some more barrel work.  Trot to the barrel.  Halt.  Circle at a walk.  Halt.  Trot to the next barrel.  Repeat.
She’s quick!  She prepared to halt before I was giving the cue.  Then, once she got the cue, she was all about the stop.  Eventually we’ll work up to doing this in a nice canter, but trot will do for now.
More rail work!  Cantering along, she leaned in a little with her shoulder, so I lifted it back up with my inside thigh and asked her to tip her nose back toward the inside and round in the direction of the turn.  Suddenly, she turned her head sideways!  The rest of her kept cantering for a stride or so then figured out that it wasn’t possible with a sideways head and finally stopped.  At that point, her head went back to normal…
Me:  OMG!  Are you OK?  Is your hip muscle hurting?
FP:  Really, I’m fine.  What were we doing?
Me:  How about long-trotting to stretch muscles?
FP:  Sure.  That sounds fine.  Look!  I can reach for the bit and swing my back!  Do you like it?
Me:  You are the most perfect pony on the planet!

Oh, yeah!  I know I did it right!

After another walk break and more trotting, we tried even more canter!  Calm – forward – straight – balanced – cadenced….  Lap after lap we go, then as she fell on the forehand and I asked her to rebalance, it happened again!  Her head went sideways!
Me:  Seriously, what is happening here?  Are you hurt?  Does something feel bad?  Talk to me!!
FP:  I feel great!  Look at those horses in the pasture.  Doesn’t that look like fun?
Me:  Why are you turning your head sideways??
FP:  *blink, blink, blink*
Me:  Is something bothering you?

FP:  I don’t understand the question…
On the lungeline we go.  She seems to be moving just fine behind…  she isn’t favoring anything….  She gets heavy in front, so I pick her up a little with the line…  And, SHE TURNS HER HEAD SIDEWAYS!!
You know what the problem is?  She has a dinky sized head and this buckle is tickling her ear every time I pick her up with the right rein!!
THIS is the offending buckle! Probably because it pushed the one-ear up, too.

But this one probably isn't that much better...
As always, I apologize for the green tint on the indoor pictures.  My phone just isn't that awesome!


  1. Oh good catch on the buckler. It's right up in her ears.

    1. It only bothers her on the one side with one-ear. I think everytime I really work the right rein, she says, "Oh! That tickles!"

  2. The first picture on this post made me pause to wonder if she would be annoyed by the buckle. Hopefully you can find a set up that works!

    1. When I put it on her, I was wondering if it would even fit! I expected the bit to be literally hanging in her mouth. It puts the bit at the corners with zero wrinkles. I knew it would be a stretch. I honestly expected the culprit to be the other buckle that looks even higher!
      She really is such a good sport about these things!! I appreciate her willingness - and her attempts to tell me (somewhat gently) when something isn't working!!



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