Friday, September 23, 2016

Green and Vintage

Picture taking boring, Stained glass interesting
After riding Connor and having my revelations about my right shoulder, I rode Roscoe to work on that point. The first ride was more of an energy burning, "I will outlast you," "you will listen" and "we will finish on a good note if it kills me" five year old, green pony kind of ride. Thank you first cooler day of the summer. I made him canter since he had so much energy. For once I did not have to work really hard to get the transition. He did include a few bucking comments, but I just pushed him on. Lot's of lateral moving of the feet later... I finally had a thinking, working pony. But it was not a ride to work on me at all. So the next day I rode him again.
This time he went right to work. He seemed to sense that the ride was not about him directly and gave me his lazy trot. I let him within reason. Meanwhile, I used the whip to place across my thumbs after making sure my reins were even. This gave me a more visual cue if my shoulder drifted. As Roscoe and I awkwardly continued on I could begin to see a difference in him. He also slowed down because oh yeah he was working correctly, ie, harder. By restricting myself, I placed boundaries for him to work within. And by focusing on me, I left him to figure out himself how to handle those boundaries. Roscoe amazes me sometimes with his problem solving and situational awareness. The answers he found were the right ones. He relaxed his neck, reached into the contact and began to travel a straighter path. I purposely kept my reins slightly longer, but he found the contact.
I really need to get out of his way more often and maybe he will fix himself :)
By the end of that ride, I could drop the inside rein and ride with just the outside. Roscoe was starting to figure out how to carry himself and not counter bend. He is still far away from perfect carriage, but the blocks for a solid base are developing.
Someone is getting more solid too
"Let's Go"
Not many days after that ride, I had thought to ride Roscoe again but my oldest decided to act cranky. Last time DaVinci acted that way, Peggy rode him and we had a few days of happier pony. So I tacked him up and actually worked him in the arena. DaVinci would prefer to walk the trails, but he is still fun to play with in the arena. If you ask him for shoulder in, half pass, walk pirouettes and haunches in, you can gain his attention. His trot is super bouncy now that his back has dropped, convincing me to try a walk to canter transition. So I set him up with a shoulder in and then asked for the depart. At 28 years old, with no work in months, vintage DaVinci stepped smoothly into a wonderful canter. I love that I can play when I ride DaVinci. His right lead is his tougher side, but he still managed an above average depart. He had a happy swish to his tail as we left the arena after working about 20 minutes.
Stand about as well as Roscoe
While I won't work Dottie and DaVinci in the heat and crazy humidity, they do get worked to maintain some old pony muscle. I want them to be able to get up for a while longer. Plus they both still have so much to offer. When I need a break from riding my green boy, the vintage boy is always refreshing. As long as they are happy and able to work, they will be on the roster.
I always find it a sad fact of the horse world that vintage horses are under appreciated. I know everyone is not as lucky as we are to be able keep them, but I still feel bad for the horses. Having a mix of young and old keeps the herd active and the dynamics are fun to watch. I can't wait to see how Ember integrates.

Even vintage ponies prefer to eat grass