Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Thursday, September 2, 2010

In the Arena #22 - Notes from our lesson weekend

Lesson one - Saturday afternoon. We focused on steering... sometimes a sticky business. To make the exercise more interesting, I practiced zigzagging the arena, traveling to, from and around the dressage cones, making sure that we were very accurate. Way more fun than circles... (or eggs and ovals lol). Val is the type of horse that responds well when his mind is engaged.. so it's my responsibility to keep our work creative and stimulating. I must be absolutely clear in my mind and with my aids, about where I want to go. Clarity... always looking straight through my horses ears with a soft gaze... and no twisting my torso or shoulders. Keeping my hands low and following - making changes in contact through my elbows.

Sunday's lesson began with steering as well. We built on the work of the day before and got to a point in the lesson where we were adjusting our direction with precision and subtly. We transitioned into some flowing smooth trot work, including 20m circles of the round variety in both directions :) What a joy. For the first time, I felt very much at one with my horse... we were doing dressage!

Monday's session was more challenging. After spending about half the lesson building on the progress of the previous days, we regressed back to our steering problems. Actually, I believe that the issue is until I am totally consistent with my leadership, Val is going to be compelled to take over if he feels any hesitation on my part. I must be evenly weighted in my stirrups as well. I have been unwittingly contradicting my turning aides with uneveness which is super frustrating to Val. Also - I must envision what I want to happen (as opposed to what I don't want to happen).

Due to the impending storm, I left Val to board with my trainer. This is the first time I have been away from him since I brought him home, almost a year now. I miss my guy a lot. He's having a good time though, doing horse bonding stuff such as three way grooming over the fence with the chestnuts - Comfy and Howard - shocking as Comfy is the head honcho of the farm. He also disrespected some fencing and found his way into the paddock with the ladies(!). He and Lacey have been flirting with each other for a while. Glad he's safe and enjoying himself, but I can't wait to bring him back home!


Update -

Got a call from my trainer this morning that Val is very lame on his left front and there is heat and a big pulse. We're hoping it's an abcess... waiting to hear the vet report now. As my friend Jerry says, "Good news. bad news, too soon to tell." I'm super bummed that Val is lame but if he had come back home with a vet worthy issue we'd be in trouble. No vet will come here when there isn't a hurricane breathing down our necks. In fact, any issue needing treatment of any type would be a huge problem. Anxiously awaiting my trainer's call...


Another update -

Good news! Val has bruising of his sole... not super visible to look at but evenly tender to the hoof tester over half of his foot. He's in a hoof boot and has had some bute. I guess the combo of a very recent trim and working on hard ground... perhaps the giant 15 minute #*@& fit he had when he couldn't see his buddies?! Time for some venice turpentine I reckon... what a relief :)


  1. Good grief! I empathize completely, having just gone through that scenario with Salina. Take a breath, deal with one thing at a time, and both these "storms" will pass.

    Hoping for the lightest touch from Earl and easy abscess for Val.

  2. You're right on about the steering - it takes us to provide some leadership and direction for that to go well.

    Hope he's OK - it's probably an abscess.

  3. Thanks Billie... as long as Val is okay I'm good. The storm outlook is improving incrementally lol. :)

  4. Kate-

    I have video of our last lesson but can't seem to make the transition from camera to computer... we had some nice moments though. Thanks for the good wishes :)

  5. The lessons with your trainer sound very good. I'm with you on clarity of mind and equal weight/balance on both sides. It all comes together the more we work on it. Glad you had good progress. Val sounds like quite the Don Juan.

    Glad to hear it was just sole bruising. That should clear up nicely if he doesn't have any more fits.

    He'll be back soon. Hope the storm barely touches you.

  6. By now, I hope the storm has said bye-bye with no extensive damage.

    Glad Val's foot is not as bad as you thought. Is he on stall rest because he's in a boot? If so, how is he handling not being able to see his buddies?

  7. So happy to hear that you are both well! I was just as worried about Hatteras as I was Smithfield! Hope the hoof heals quickly, I'm sure it will with all the TLC he's going to get!

  8. Love the lesson notes! Glad to see you were paying attention. :)

    P.S Val ran when he saw me coming with the Bute tonight...think he's feeling better!


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