After this past weekend in Douglas County, watching, helping, volunteering and driving a ton to the RMIHC show, I decided that Ashke's injury was a blessing in disguise. I don't think we could have done as much at the show, or made it home in time to go to the Bronco game, if we had a horse we had to haul home. J and I helped with course resetting and I was a timer for the Speed rounds, and originally we weren't supposed to have that Bronco game. Traffic wasn't great and we were short on time getting home Saturday afternoon. All in all, it was just as well.
However, after two weeks, the newest injury is healing well and at this point, is just skin that needs to grow in. I am alternating a steriod antibiotic and silver sulfadiazine on the injury, every two days, and keeping the quick wrap on his leg. On Sunday, Ashke had managed to rip a triangular shaped hole in the back of the quick wrap in the exact spot as his injury. WTF? Seriously, we have gone through his stall over and over again and cannot figure out what he is doing. I'm beginning to think I need to put a camera on him to see what the hell.
Last night was our first lesson since the second injury. Ashke started out stiff and fussy, not wanting to ride with contact, feeling tense and not moving forward. His canter was soft and he was able to hold his lead in both directions, but I just could not get him to feel less tense. When Amanda walked into the arena, I took him over to say hi and she made a big deal out of him. I think that helped him relax. We started with serpentines at the trot, transitioning to walk and then back to trot. Then we did a spiral in and out at the trot, before doing the serpentines at the trot-canter-trot, with a halt in the middle. Ashke got lighter and lighter in his transitions, picking up the lead correctly and not rushing or pulling.
We did some leg yields from the centerline to the wall, and then I did it from Centerline to the quarter line, and while still asking him for the same bend, we took a few steps back toward centerline in our first real attempts at a half pass. He did it really well moving right to left, but it was definitely harder moving from left to right. Then we worked a haunches in down the wall, with a walk pirouette at the end, returning to do it again in the other direction. His first couple of pirouettes were very solid.
Then we pulled out the twin barrels and worked our canter around them. Things I need to remember is to sit back at the canter and allow him to lift his front end when making our circles. He is so much better when I maintain that position. To the left, I need to keep the circle symmetrical and not let him fall in on the shoulder at the back side of the barrel. It's totally my fault it is happening, since I'm the one not mapping the circle correctly in my head. We did a halt in the center of the circles, since Ashke constantly wants to race the obstacles, keeping him calm and focused is the priority. Amanda said if we school the halt then it will be much easier to attain the walk-canter transition in a show. We also change things up, like doing the pattern backwards, or alternating canter and trot circles, or doing the same barrel twice in a row, so that his predictive nature is thwarted by our deviousness. It makes him have to listen to me.
After working the barrels several times, we added the gate. We cantered to the gate, transitioned down and he was very smooth in both directions, then cantered away to do the barrels. He still gets just a bit tense in the reverse gate, but it is loads better than it was six months ago. We worked on that a few times then added a barrel to the two we had out and began to practice the triple barrels. We started with a small circle around one, then a larger circle around the same one, then a smaller circle again, before moving on to the next barrel. It gave Ashke plenty of work on proper bend, especially in his difficult direction, and blew up his idea of how the obstacle should be ridden. Perhaps next week I can set up a slalom and a double slalom for us to work on. And sidepass poles.
He got rinsed and his leg rewrapped after our ride. His leg looks great. Expect a catch up post on Friday.