|I think Sparky is tired of trying on bridles!|
I started out with Star on Tuesday. I've recently toyed with the idea of making her a Western pleasure horse, but I'm having trouble committing to that idea. If I do something, I like to do it right. Doing Western pleasure "right" for Morgan world involves silver, dark oil, romal reins, and considerable expense.
The main thing right now is really just that Star needs to be worked, whatever it is. So I decided to say screw the snaffle and flat her in her Pelham. She just goes better in her Pelham, so why struggle with trying to make a snaffle "work," when right now the point is just to get her a bit more fit? (Added bonus: it's easier on me, too. What can I say? I'm lazy).
As (nearly) always, Star did everything I asked, but was definitely grumpy. She did offer up a few (appropriate) lead changes, though, which was pretty neat. Out of fairness, I didn't push her too hard, because she's obviously unfit, and I was maybe about ten days late administering her Adequan this month. Part of me would like to get her hocks injected, but it's expensive and I'm hesitant to inject a joint when a horse isn't actually unsound. I might do a full loading dose of Adequan for her and see if it helps.
After I was done with Star, I tacked up the Sparkplug. As we got to the arena, it started to rain; just a little bit at first, but enough to be annoying. Apparently, I am not the only one who doesn't like riding in the rain - Sparky was doing the best he could to tuck his face away from the raindrops by curling up behind the bit and turning his neck and leading with his shoulder! It was actually pretty comical.
The rain picked up more and before too long, both the Sparkplug and I were soaked. The nice thing about that is that once you reach that point, it kind of doesn't matter that it's raining anymore. So we proceeded to jump around a little bit. (Another nice thing about the rain is that it made the footing nice). Honorary Big Sister Jen had set a hunter-ish course consisting of a 2'-ish bounce on the outside line with a ground pole some number of strides away (bad me - I didn't count), the coop on a diagonal, a 3' vertical on the other outside line, and a low, wide oxer made up of the three cavaletti on the other diagonal. I took away half the bounce so it was just a single vertical and I lowered the 3' vertical to 2'6". And we began.
Sparky was perfect! We started with the 2' vertical a few times and then moved to the coop. After doing each of those a few times, I got brave and decided to try the wide cavaletti oxer. Sparky hadn't seen this before, so I wasn't 100% sure what he would do. I kept my leg on... and he didn't even blink! Right over, like it was NBD. As we starting stringing more jumps together, I eventually just threw in the 2'6" vertical. He looked and wavered the tiniest bit, but because I kept my leg on, he said, "Okay," and went right over. We strung together some little course, jumping each fence a few more times, and called it good.
I think we've finally "mastered" the coop. Given any opportunity to duck out at it, Sparky will do so, but as long as I make sure to ride well and have a nice, straight approach, I think it won't be an issue.
It was really reassuring to have such a good ride, because I've really been struggling lately with "feeling like" making the trek to the barn to ride. I need to feel like I'm working towards something, and that has really been lacking lately.
I plan on riding again tonight and on Sunday; I'll just do flatwork with Sparky and try to drag Kellie and Star out as well (at least on Sunday). Next week, Honorary Big Sister Jen and I have plans to take our ponies over to her place of employ, jump around, and kick each other's butts. It should be fun - and for the immediate future at least, gives me something to be working towards.