Our fall lasted all of 7 hours, I think.
Last night it started to rain as I reached the barn. The temps, due to the wind and rain, dropped low enough to turn on the barn heaters. Because it was after 6, the barn crew had left, expecting the night feed person to close up the barn. Instead, Denise, Emily and myself raced through stalls and closed up all of the doors. I can't believe colder weather is here already. The barn heaters are set to turn on at 45 degrees.
Every day I see improvements in Ashke's back. On Thursday, I ordered the BOT 3' x 4' saddle pad/rump rug for myself for my birthday. (That's how J and I roll. I know it's from her, but it's just easier to order it myself.) It should be long enough to cover his back and rump while we are working, and it will be wonderful this winter to ensure he won't cool down and stiffen up after we ride. Not to mention, the BOT stuff I'm using is making a huge difference in his comfort level.
I, once again, met Ashke at the stall with the blanket, haltered him and blanketed him, giving the BOT about 15 minutes to work. I left him in the stall in the blanket while I raced around shutting doors and closing up the barn. By the time I moved him to the grooming stall, it felt like his back was pretty loose. I did some massage on his withers and then across his rump with the blanket in place. Then I groomed him and he played with Cassandra. We headed for the indoor arena.
I lunged him first for about 10 minutes, just letting him move around me at his own pace, then put him in side reins and asked for both the walk and trot. By the end of our lunging session in the side reins, he was loose and moving freely. We were only in the side reins for maybe six minutes and then I got on him.
Ashke did great. He is beginning to know what it is I want and he is trying really hard to deliver. Last night was more difficult, mainly because there were two other horses in the arena with us and Cali is in heat. Ashke gets more focused on where Cali is in relationship to the other horses then he is in what I am asking him to do. And he wants to lift his head up. I spent some time redirecting his attention. He was able to go longer last night in a frame with collection, then the last time we rode. I'm hoping this is the trend that continues, since it makes me happy he is getting stronger and more aware of what is happening between us. We also worked on transitions and finally (I know, it's been so long) he is able to transition up into the trot without hollowing his back and flipping his head up. He's also not "popping up" into the trot as much. I was very pleased with his effort.
We rode for about 45 minutes, all walk and trot. Maybe we will be at a point on next Weds. during our lesson with Cassandra, that she will get on him and try him at the canter. I'm really hoping that all this work with him lifting his back will make him more balanced and capable at the canter. I am hoping he will find a gait that isn't a dead ass run.