Monday, July 13, 2009

Show plans and training updates!

Sorry I haven't had much time to update recently. I've been working my grooming job all week, which has left precious little time for riding, not to mention updating the blog.

Johnny has been fabulous all week. I've been warming him up with lots of dressage lateral work and it seems to be helping him. His trot and canter and stronger and smoother, he is stretching down more and more in his top line and today I distinctly noticed that his hind end felt strong trotting down hill. We weren't "falling" anymore into a running trot on downhill grades! Also, while sponging him off after tonights ride (and further failed attempt at getting his right lead) I noticed that the muscle of his inner thighs is bigger! I remember thinking how funny he looked from behind when I first got him, like a bit cavern had opened up between his hind legs (I know that sounds weird, but its true!) His hind leg muscles touch now from behind, and they are firm and strong!

Today I worked on lots of figure 8's at the trot, changing the bend and getting Johnny to move his rib cage over instead of just bending his neck. He did really fabulous with that, and wanted to stretch down into the bridle! After that I sent him over a cross rail set on a figure 8 too. We landed the bad leag several times, but he only cantered maybe a stride and then fell into a heap of a running trot. I could feel him getting frustrated so I finally just moved back up to the top of the field and jumped some fences on a straight line to let his head clear out. He landed the lead up there a few times too, and I let him canter into the jumps. I was having a crap time seeing my distances today (figures, after a whole week of being at a horse show and seeing everyone else's I miss on all of my own) we left super long a few times because I didnt feel like John was going to fit another stride, and leaving long actually made him land on the bad lead more (which turned out to be kind of a good thing) I REALLY missed once though and just let him pull the reins through my hands when I landed. Then I mentally kicked myself in the rear, put him back together and just cantered around for a bit. I want to work on some shortening and lengthening tomorrow...maybe setting some poles 5 strides apart and playing with the numbers. It will help to re-tune up my eye too. We finished off todays ride cantering over the fence again, and this time I actually saw a correct distance and John landed perfectly in canter on the backside. I let him canter up along the tree line and gently pull the reins through my fingers until he was on the buckle. He was very happy and willing to stretch down as long as I kept my leg on. After having a Thoroughbred mare my whole life, the concept of having to push a horse is very new to me!!

My farrier, S also came today to trim Emmy's feet and reset her shoes. I had him look at Johnny while he was here and we decided that if John ends up going to school with me, we are going to do some corrective shoeing on his front legs to help ease some of the concussion on his joints. His front legs are bad, with remnants of old injuries that must have surely ended his racing career. I told my mom once that I don't even want to see ultra sounds or xrays of them, because I don't even want to know whats wrong. They are very unclean, however they don't seem to bother him. I liniment him everyday and use cold therapy when they get wind puffy. I'm going to pick up a joint supplement for him too I think. Hopefully he will stay sound!!

C and I are planning on attending the Brecksville Kiwanis Show after I get back from New York, and then heading to Ellrick the next week! I'm going over prize lists and writing out entries as we speak!

Well, that's all for now. More updates tomorrow after riding!

P.S. I bought John a new breast collar the other day. It's one of the old fashion elastic ones that connects to the girth (very popular in eventing) but it works great! I had stopped riding with a breast collar some time ago and just accepted the fact that the way Johnny moves his shoulders makes all saddles slide back, because his old breast collar always seemed to be choking him, but this one keeps my saddle in place and never gets tight across his shoulders or his chest, which makes me very happy! Plus, the elastic doesn't restrict and shoulder movement. Yay!

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