Due to me simply giving her a week off, then her shoe issue, Cally essentially had the last two weeks off, since the Southwind Jumpalooza. I got on long enough Tuesday, post shoeing, to make sure she was sound and commit to our usual Friday lesson with Kelley. I made sure to preface our lesson with the fact that she’d been off and was a bit stiff and reluctant to actually, you know, work.
So we started off simply, with the flatwork to get her loosened up and using herself. First some big figure eights at the trot, just getting her bending and changing direction and going forward, then progressing to turning on a quarter line and leg yielding over into the corner. That took a few times around to get going well, especially to the left. But my lesson was to not do the work for her, and make her move over off my leg. When she was moving off my leg reasonably, we progressed to leg yielding over then picking up the canter in the corner. After a circle of canter, we then worked on leg yielding at the canter, again moving down the quarter line and over to get her working off my leg and moving her hind end and shoulders where I wanted them to go. It was much harder at the canter, as I don’t think I’ve ever even tried leg yielding at the canter with her before. It took a few tries to get right, but we eventually got our acts together, at least on the right lead, and had a few really nice passes. We had more trouble to the left, as she doesn’t like having to move off that right shoulder, but eventually we got it a few times, and then came back to the trot. Once I really sat up and brought my shoulders back, it became much easier to push her off my leg and into a balance turn and leg yield.
Then we moved on to a little bit of jumping. We started over some crossrails, just working on getting a nice quiet trot in, making a figure eight around to the other fence. It took a few fences to get into the groove, the first one where we both just didn’t quite get ourselves together and she jumped huge over the X while I did nothing. So we circled, reapproached, and I, you know, rode. Much better! Amazing how that works. We were doing pretty good until Kelley put the fences up to verticals without Cally noticing, and she tried to take out a whole fence by not picking up her feet; poles went flying and she felt angry. She does not like the poles hitting her! But we came back around and had a much more attentive and balanced approach, and we had a really nice jump. One more time through the figure 8, this time staying balanced and together the whole time, and we were good on that for the day. It felt like we had our groove back.
After getting her cleaned up and stuff away, I hung around with barnmates for a while, then it was time for her first massage in months! Tina’s always been great and providing an outside prospective on how Cally’s looking, and always leaves the horse feeling great. She wasn’t as reactive as I was expecting, for as much work as she’s been doing this spring, and as much muscle as she’s been building. Obviously there were some areas, especially in the hind end and at the poll, where she’s always sensitive and prone to getting sore, so it was nice to get that worked out a little. Usually she gets ridden after a massage, but since she’d just done a lesson, and was getting ready to go out shortly, we didn’t ride today. I’m looking forward to getting on tomorrow and seeing how much better she feels after both her back-to-work lesson and her massage to get her loosened up again.
Hopefully this sets us up well, as we count down to our first recognized dressage show on the 31st!