Monday - Do werk. Pissy Horse. Regain Brain.
I had a cutting lesson in the early afternoon and then headed out to the barn to see King of the Pissy Pants, Jingle-Bell-Rock.
Generally I also have a lesson on him on Mondays but my trainer was stuck in Montana due to aforementioned snow storm. I thought it would be a good idea to run through a "lesson" to see how my horse responded.
I set up some serious ground-poles, some barrels, and got to work.
Jingle was forward, very forward. Aint no slowin' this Mack truck down! Ugh. I worked a shit-ton on the wither stop, on trotting the ground poles, on jogging, on walking, on jogging again. Jingle has decided he will drag his nose on the ground during jogging - a girl in the arena the other day commented "he actually looks really cute when he's going nicely" - ahem... you mean when he isn't using his ab muscles in anyway and is instead just stretching away from everything I throw at him? Also, he looks cute ALL.THE.TIME. -disgruntled mother over here-
He was working pretty well, I turned him in figure 8's around two barrels every so often and he was turning really.really.well. Barrel horse prospect? Just saying. When he really wants to that horse can whip around a barrel like no other. Of course, we haven't tried this at a lope, but maybe one day! haha.
I was attempting to diverge his forward motion by constantly making him work and turn his hip, speed up - turn, speed up - turn, go steady - stay straight, etc. It seemed to be working, but he was definitely in a pissy mood for most of the ride. I was happy that he was actually working with me though, instead of during into an absolute nightmare like his ears kept threatening to do.
Finally, we attempted the lope, it was scattered and messy - way.too.fast, I decided to let him run like a strung out mess for a bit and then asked him for more turns, big circles, little circles, but it was getting me nowhere - so, thus, we must again say goodbye to loping and go back to the slow stuff. His stop is getting better and better, so now we can slightly shift focus to lessening that bullet-out-of-a-gun forward motion.
After the whole "HEY MA LOOK I CAN GALLOP" schtick, Jingle spiraled right into his pissy-horse routine... maybe my horse doesn't like mondays? haha. We walked for a really long time, and then I asked for a trot again and we worked on stopping, at first he wanted to be a complete dick, but after some transitioning from walk-trot-walk-jog-trot-jog-walk etc, he started listening to me again and stopping nicely (after some disgusting stops haha). I was happy with that - he had gone into his pissy realm of hatred, and had come back out of it. We quit.
I put away my "do werk" aids - ground poles and barrels - and he followed behind me and did what he does best - roll for as long as possible so that all his white splotches look like they were eaten by mud-monsters. haha. good boy.
Werkin' it out in the arena...
Tuesday - Slow & Steady wins the race
With yet another mugwump article in my mind, I went to work trying to slow down my too-fast horse. We walked, the entire time. The only time we jogged or trotted was when he broke out into one of those gaits, I would just keep turning him right, left, circles, serpentines, until he slowed down, and then I'd let him walk straight for awhile. If he sped up again, away we'd go. He seemed to pick up on it, and I worked on stops for awhile.
Then, as a test, I tried to communicate speeding and slowing at the walk. When I wanted him to slow down i'd sit back, relax, and ask him to walk slow, when I wanted him more forward I'd sit up, forward and add more contact with my legs. He seemed a little confused, but by the end starting figuring out what I was asking him to do and we transitioned through a walk from fast-slow and in-between for awhile.
He's still not slowing down, but I think he's figuring out the concept.
Before I rode, I went out and took some photos of Jingle and his girlfriend, Quiz. :) Quiz was the horse I rode for the better part of last year (better being literally and figuratively haha), so it's pretty good that two of my favourite ponies have buddied up. They are pretty inseparable, it's adorable.
Cutest couple of the year award!
Echo REALLY wanted me to take photos of her - get outttta the way!
Wednesday - Snow Day aka Ditch Horse & Hang out with Puppy
It snowed again on Wednesday and I was sleepy, so instead of heading out to the barn I hung out with my dog - Moose! Pretty awesome animal to hang out with too, if I do say so myself.
Making tracks in fresh snow
Thursday - Jingle, meet "Equine Practitioner"
On Thursday I brought a Massage/Chiro out to the barn to look at Jingle, and a few other horses. At first Jingle was giving her the wide-eyed crazy look, as per usual. She was asking me about him, and his variety of ailments and issues, and then said "Are you planning on flipping him or keeping him?" I wild-eyed her right beside him, "keeping him. forever. and ever." She laughed. Okay, I am a bit of a defensive horse-mom, I know.
She worked a lot on breaking down some scar tissue around his jaw from his previous injury, and also said there was a ton of tension and strain in his neck and through to his shoulders. She said this was due to the old jaw injury, but unfortunately when the head/neck/shoulders are all out of whack and twisted, it turns the entire body into an out of whack, twisted mess. I wasn't really that surprised. She said that Jingle's neck/shoulders were out to the right (which makes sense, because he's better on his left side), and then his hips were out to the left... my horse is quasi-modo.
She said his withers were slightly out, but that most horses have their withers slightly out due to being ridden. This was good because I was worried all the saddle fitting issues we've been having lately we're going to really affect his withers. She also said that his back and shoulders are slightly titled to the left due to over-muscling from being so "left-handed"... so all this titling and shifting i've been feeling with all these saddles isn't me being an unbalanced wreck - nice to know.
She said he had a nice strong back, which was good to hear, but then when she got to his right hip she said he was quite a bit out. She popped it back in and all of a sudden his hip bone emerged where previous too it had looked like a large area of even muscle... it was gross, fascinating and pretty cool. It made me into a believer for sure. haha.
She said that he'd be pretty sore for a couple of days, and then be pretty firey after because he'd be feeling so good, but also feeling so different. She commented that after a large adjustment such as that, a lot of horses can feel "off" because they are learning to travel different.
Overall I think he did really well, and I'm happy I had her out. I've done my far share of extensive physio, so I know how much it can hurt in the "feels so good" way.
Waaaay, waaay back... aka September I wrote this post about Jingle visiting the dentist. After he was looked at I drove into town, pulled over at a gas station, and broke down into a crying episode for about 20 minutes... it was wonderful. haha. I just didn't want my horse to be in pain and felt like he was always going to be some pyschologically messed up, semi-in pain horse due to all his jaw problems. As you guys know, 6 months later, Jingle is bitless, Jingle is way more relaxed and Jingle is well... doing well! haha, He's on herbal supplements that target his jaw - specifically bone and tendons... his herbal supplements look like tea & chalk... I am eternally made fun of at the barn. The Massage/Chiro said he's tight, but otherwise okay. My Dentist said his TMJ is fine - aka, probably no headaches. So... we're doing good.
Also, I just really love my dentist, he is an awesome guy. If your in Southern Alberta and are looking for one - drop me a line and i'll pass along his contact info, he is highly accredited, and again... really wonderful.
Anyyyywaaaays, I'm rambling. My Dentist said that he's happy with where Jingle is at 6 months later, he still had a top erupted tooth and the bottom was uneven, but he said that over time a... levelling of sorts will occur and that with work we can have some more consistency and go longer and longer without having such a large impaction/eruption cycle occuring. I am happy with that - much better, and more positive prognosis than last time, where I think my dentist was a little shocked at how bad the original break, and subsequent natural resetting of his jaw had been.
Love Fergus comics; sidenote - Jingle, fortunately, does not act like this. However, he isn't easily sedated and the entire time stares at me with this "WHY GOD WHY?" look in his crazy eyes.
Monday - Where we are Now...
Running with his best bro... sigh.. he'll never get that neck low, will he?
My Massage girl (I can never figure out a good name for her on this blog) had said that Jingle might be feeling pretty fresh after getting worked on, and then having a couple days off, and indeed... fresh he was. Once again I tried to focus on just regaining some of his attention and working on slow stuff, repeatedly turning him and attempting to stay off his face to slow him down. The massage had mentioned that he needs lots of long, low, and straight trot work, so I also attempted to get my horse to move in a straight line... guess he's lost that particular ability since learning to go in an arena. Perhaps Jingle has become more of a rail user and abuser than I thought. Good to know!
We did a whooooooole lot at the extended trot because he was just being too much of a piss pot when I attempted to just do walk stuff. He zoomed around and I let him, as long as he didn't break into a canter, when he slowed down and regained some composure I kept him at that pace for a couple steps longer then let him walk. If he wanted to zoom off again, we'd go back to work. He's starting to figure it out. We're getting somewhere with these gaits and our "need for speed" problem, I think.
You can't seeeee us!
Well... the "Intensive" is over, haha. I was only really calling it that half-jokingly, but it was a way to remind myself to ride more, and overthink less. I'm going to really try get out to the barn more than I was last month, but the end of March/April signals term papers and final exams... so Jingle might get some more time off than he really needs. Then, as soon as I know it, Spring will have arrived and we'll be heading outside to do lots of long-trotting up and down the fenceline. My horse needs to travel straight and build top line, and we both need to get outside.
Jingle has done really well the last two weeks, I see the potential in him everytime I ride him, but it's his attitude that really jars the both of us sometime. I think, my horse and I, are a little toooo alike sometimes. haha. It's not even the real "training" we need to figure out, it's the harnessing of energy and working towards "training" that is really where we're at right now, (if that makes sense) and I think we're getting closer and closer to being there.