10.10.10: Double Day

Finally had a day with gorgeous weather and the time to be able to work the horses.
I started with Storm and he still seemed to be in a thoughtful mood that he'd been in for quite a while. We headed to the round pen and got started. He moved off easily and after a lap of so I asked him to begin the routine of trotting a lap, and then picking up the canter. He grunted and squealed, but picked up the canter without too much fuss. He held it for a few strides, and then went back to the trot and was able to trot for a lap or so and then dropped back to the walk again. We repeated the process several times and worked on developing consistency within the gaits. His trot is getting steadier, but still needs work to really refine his balance. Walking his is almost instantly balanced, and it only takes a short period of work to begin to really loosen up his neck and shoulders. He slides in and out of being able to maintain the trot balanced, but is beginning to get better at it. He was working to the right side and was beginning to find some steadiness again.
I stopped him and asked him to turn and change directions, and he was reluctant to want to go to the left, I had to swing him all the way in a circle in order to get him moving off in the correct direction. I let him walk a lap and then picked up the trot and then the canter. He had a much more challenging time getting himself organized in this direction to be able to hold the canter. He was throwing all sorts of interesting things out there, cross firing and picking up the wrong lead and having to switch leads after he would pick up the canter. Obviously something is challenging him in that direction and he was really struggling, but was putting forth a lot of effort. We worked for a while just repeating the process and he was really able to make some progress finding more balance and more ability to hold the canter and get better organized when he would make the transition. It will probably take several sessions to help him work it out, but each time we start the process it is a little bit better than the last.
I finally wrapped things up with him and headed back up to the barn, and decided since he was slightly tired and in a thoughtful mood that we'd do a little bit of work picking up his feet. He  was fairly cooperative and minded what I asked him to do. He still does not lift his own hind legs very well, but hopefully practice will remedy that as well. It will just have to be something we work on each session when we wrap things up.
I put him away and headed up to the house to change into breeches and went to fetch Tali. I realized that I was still borrowing Debbie's girth to use on her, and they had just gotten back from a trail ride. I went and got it from her and got Tali tacked up really quickly before getting organized and heading down to the arena. We got started on the long lines to get her warmed up for a while and she was doing a bit better at staying more organized and was able to find her balance a little bit faster. I worked in both directions looking for some improvement in the pattern, and then we got ready to ride. I settled in and started looking for the ball and simply tried to keep pushing it back to the middle and keeping her shoulders in line with the rest of her body. It is rather disconcerting that the horse's neck and head and shoulders can all go in entirely different directions at one time, and learning how to correct the issue is a challenge at first.  She settled in more and the corrections were easier to make and were not coming as often. I was having to really work to figure out where the ball went because she was beginning to get more subtle, which is a sign she was also figuring things out. After we worked for a while she began to throw her head around some, and it seemed that she was struggling on some level. The only issue was that I couldn't discern if her trouble was coming from being too tired or if her trouble was coming from simply struggling to accomplish the tasks. There is a fine line and not crossing into the too tired side of the line is difficult, especially when the horse is so weak that she tires quickly.
I decided to go ahead and find a good spot and stop anyway because I'd rather not go too far over the line if she was really tired. I didn't have much time, anyway, so we headed back up and untacked again and I checked the sweat patterns under the saddle (which were nice and even) before turning her out again.

Next Page: 10.10.13: Verification
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