Saturday is a busy day for us. We get up earlier than on a week day so T can catch a bus to Winter Park to ski. We take the dogs with us when we take T to the bus stop, so we can go to the dog park and let them run when no one else is around. (Malinios are the canine ninja's of the dog world and do not brook any nonsense. Better to keep them separate.) They love the dog park in Golden and there hasn't been anyone there that early, so we let them run until they are ready to leave. The Dover dog blankets have been incredible and very comfy. They keep them warm and now that Skittle doesn't think she's in trouble every time we put it on her, they seem to enjoy wearing them.
After the dog park, we got a bucket of warm mash for Ashke and a five gallon barrel of hot water. I was tired of the urine stiffened mane, the urine soaked and stained front leg, filthy tail and dirty belly of my horse. It was way to cold to try and clean him with well water, but I figured if I only washed the dirty areas and then toweled him dry before riding him, we would be okay. He danced a bit in the wash stall, but was very good for J, who held him while I wet, washed and rinsed the above named parts. Even used a little conditioner. I don't think I've been able to get a brush through mane or tail in months. And his dark yellow leg was actually white when I finished.
He seemed pretty happy with the hot water, actually.
He was, however, a fire breathing dragon once I had him saddled. If I thought I had resolved the issue with the corner, I was mistaken. He hates it and tried to bolt away from it a couple of times today. We trotted in circles through the deepest sand right in front of the standards, in both directions, until we were no longer interested in bolting. Then we got to work.
Ashke was amazing. We did some lateral work to loosen him up and then started working on transitions off my seat. I had to hold him with my seat to keep him slow (he was very forward today) and if I released my seat, he moved up into another transition. I did trot-canter-trot-walk transitions, entirely by tilting my pelvis and giving a small release on the reins with the tips of my fingers. There was very little by way of adding leg to get the transitions. It was delightful.
We worked on the slalom with parallel poles, but only with three cones. Maybe next time we will try five. I had worked on those on Thursday and came away with the idea that if I got out of Ashke's way, he would be able to turn the poles on his own, with just some direction from me. At least in front. I have to support his hind end with my outside leg to keep him bent around the inside, and add a bit of heel and leg on the inside to keep his impulsion up, but I barely need to cue the canter, just the softest touch with my leg to get him to transition up. We rode the three cones in both directions one time and then we were done for the day. He learns so much better if we do it once or twice and then let it rest for a day.
Three things of note: the ruffled hair on the left back panel of the saddle, where I had been adding a shim is showing only the slightest hint of ruffled hair, without using the shim, which means the muscling in his back is much more even; the rubbed off hair over his loins that was caused by the new BOT dressage pad is no longer being rubbed. The new sheepskin saddle pad, which has a footprint just slightly larger than my saddle, is working very well. Best two hundred dollars, ever! And finally, Ashke is still in the quick wrap on his left hind leg. The swelling under the scar tissue is almost completely resolved and he doesn't seem to be scratching it at all. I am keeping him wrapped until Expo, however.
J and I headed home after my most excellent ride. I took a shower and planked for 40 seconds (doubled my time whoot!!!) and then we went to get a couple's massage.
Massages are such strange things. I go in wanting someone to rub their warm hands all over my body and make me feel good and instead I get the over achiever who finds every sore trigger point and detonates them until my muscles give up. I do have to say that the heated massage beds, the waterfall of water that provided soft music and the heated, steaming towels they used to loosen my back were wonderful. I did, however, spend a lot of time breathing through the pain. The massage therapist had strong sure hands and did a great job of pummeling all of my tight muscles into abject surrender, including my hips flexors and hamstrings.
I am feeling it tonight, though. J was less pleased with hers, since she really wanted her neck and shoulders worked on and he didn't really do much there. We got the massages through Groupon and will be looking for more options. Two hour long massages for $20 and a $20 tip was well worth the experience.
Ashke will get tomorrow off and I will ride again on Monday night. Hopefully, my lesson will be on Weds. Or I will do a lesson on Monday and ride again on Weds. It's been too muddy to get out onto the trail. And the wind has been cold. Plus, I am really working on being more than ready for the show in March.