Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wearing a surcingle

So I had an entire post completely written, and now it is gone....  Uggh.

This will be a shortened version!

Sunday 22 June 2014
Perfect day for riding.  Suki and Nikki had yesterday off, so they were both ready to work.  I really enjoy my early morning rides.  The farm is peaceful and the air is usually a bit cooler than later in the day.  It gives me the opportunity to really take my time with each horse, grooming and training.

Nikki has been going through her mounting block phase again, something we revisit every few weeks. It just takes patience, but I have to admit I find it a bit annoying.  It seems to me it's a cycling issue, because it usually starts one day before she shows signs of heat, then lasts about a week.  Today was only one time stepping away.  The second attempt she stood quietly.  At least it's winding down again!

I worked a bit on leg yielding, then shoulder in to a few steps of half pass.  The best part of the ride was when I asked for  trot lengthening across the diagonal and Nikki launched into an awesome medium!  WOW!  But that was when I realized that I hadn’t actually SAT a medium in awhile.  The rest of the ride included some work without stirrups!

Suki listened well and was not at all distracted by the horses in the fields around her.  It was a pleasure to see her so focused.  After her day off I did a lot forward gaits, as she started off slightly stiff.  A few times around and the stiffness was gone.  Transitions within the gaits were achieved by a simple change of my body position.  She was so in tune with what I was asking.  Such fun!  I love the way she walks back to the barn after working.  Very proud of herself!  Today I put the surcingle on over the saddle pad but just let it hang without buckling it.  Suki turned around and looked at it for a moment but that was it.  That was pretty much how she reacted the first time I put a sheet on her when she was three, so I shouldn’t be too surprised.  I know that it seems like I am moving at a glacial pace, but With everything that she has been through I just need to take my time.  She has recovered from the fire so beautifully, but I want to make sure that she is physically and mentally ready for each step.

Monday 23 June 2014
A warm, humid start to the day, and since Isaiah had camp I could not get to the barn until 9:15.  It was already a bit steamy, but the girls were inside in front of their fans relaxing when I arrived.  Rough life!!

The flies were annoying, but Nikki was a trooper with only one step aside for mounting.  Maybe next time she will stand still!  I spread the trot poles a bit wider today and she went through them with ease.  She looked at them a little bit the first time through but stepped it up nicely.  The first few canter transitions I felt like she was pulling a bit so I put her on a 20 meter circle and asked for trot-canter, canter-trot transitions every few strides.  It was much better after that!

We were both pretty steamy after that session so Nikki had a cool shower and I drank a bottle of Gatorade.  I used to only like the lime flavor but am a new fan of strawberry!

Suki was amazing!  She was so ready to work.  There was no evidence of stiffness even at the beginning.  The trot to halt transitions were dead-on square.  Then she lifted right into trot when asked.

Before I hosed her off I put the saddle pad on her back then the surcingle, which I buckled.  No problem.

She's really not as cranky as she appears!

Thursday 26 June 2014

Another 9:30 start to the day, but after a brief lunge for Nikki I got on.  She stood like a rock and was in such a delightful mood!!  Shoulder in is definitely improving, and today I worked on a bit of haunches in as well.  I have not worked on haunches in for awhile, but Nikki was very responsive with correct bend and nice forward energy.  I also worked on spiral in at the trot from a 20m circle then leg yield out asking for the canter as we hit the 20m mark again.  She stretched beautifully at the walk to cool out and we went for a walk outside the arena.

While Nikki’s fetlock wound seems to be healing nicely, Suki’s looks like it has re-opened.  It is a little sensitive to the touch but not bad.  Suki walked out to the arena ready to work, but once she picked up the trot I could see that she was quite uncomfortable on the left hind.  Moving her out on straight lines and large circles to see if it improve, I could tell it would not.  She will rest tomorrow and I will check again on Saturday.  I wonder if it is because of that wound?  I cleaned it really well and applied Beeswax Bandage ointment.

I also needed to take home Suki’s lightest weight fly sheet to make some repairs (this has been an almost daily occurrence!) This particular sheet is a very light weight mesh so it is perfect for hot days.  I often leave her naked in her stall during the day then return to put the sheet back on for turnout.  The Smart Pak fly sheet is out for repairs and although it too is light weight it is slightly heavier and more durable than the Saxon sheet.  Last summer my fabulous blanket lady sewed a light weight cotton panel just across the top to protect Suki’s skin from the sun.  I need to find another for back up, but it is difficult to find in a size 84!

Saturday 28 June 2014
Beautiful morning, low 60sF and moderate humidity.  I could feel the day warming quickly and the girls started towards the gate as soon as they saw me coming down the driveway!  By the middle of next week temperatures and humidity are expected to rise so I will enjoy this while I can!

Nikki did a BIG downward dog stretch just after we walked out of the barn, with an equally loud groan.  This was followed by an arabesque stretch on each leg!  After a very brief lunge to let her stretch her back a bit, Nikki stood quietly at the mounting block again. Her energy was super so we did a bunch of different exercises.  We were both tired but pleased at the end of the ride.  As soon as I dismounted Nikki stepped back to recive her post ride sugar cube!

I wanted to check Suki’s soundness status so I did a quick groom and took her out to the arena.  She did her arabesque stretches just before we left the barn.  Huge improvement today, but I will give her another rest day.  The cut looks better but I am not fully convinced that was the entire problem.  I was happy to see improvement though.  After a thorough grooming exfoliation and moisturizing I decided to leave Suki naked in her stall.  I will return later to put it on before turnout tonight.  Did I mention there was another hole to repair!?

Tomorrow will be another early start, but is there anything better than to start the day greeted by the happy knickers of greeting by your horses?

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