Well, after a full week of vacation for both me and for Husky, I wasn’t all that surprised to find that he was extremely distracted and unbalanced this afternoon. It was a hot, humid day so of course we were both sweating within about five minutes. And since Husky made me work so hard today, by the end of it we both needed a good bath!
Here’s a rundown of what we worked on:
- Circles. We did 20-meter “circles” which were more like ovals. Husky was pushing out his outside shoulder, tossing his nose out and hollowing his back, and looking out of the ring at every passing butterfly.
- Turn on the hindquarters and forehand. When it became clear that our circles weren’t going to get better, I stopped and had Husky do some pivots. He was very sticky and slow at first but loosened up fairly quickly. When we trotted off again he felt more responsive to my leg and our turns were more balanced.
- Serpentines. This was when he made me work very hard. I worked on keeping my position correct while lifting his belly and asking him to drop his head into the bit. It worked, sort of. He was inconsistent but I could tell he was finally working at getting some impulsion and rounded movement.
- Lead changes. This is an ongoing project this summer. As Husky got a bit more balanced at the canter, we did a figure eight exercise: begin on the right lead and canter a 20-meter circle; as you approach X, trot 1-2 strides (as few strides as possible – often it becomes 3-4), then pick up the left lead and circle to the left 20 meters. Repeat in the opposite direction. We did get some good, quick changes, so that was great.
To give an illustration of how wound up Husky was: we cantered over a pole on the ground and he actually jumped it, several times. Normally he just canters over without changing stride. Once, he actually changed leads over the pole, which was neat. I was hoping to work on changing leads over the pole but he just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it.
Today’s main takeaway: after a vacation, it’s okay to take some time to get back into the swing of things. Remember to always accept what your horse’s best effort for the day; sometimes what he can give you for the day isn’t spectacular but as long as he’s working for you, then that’s okay.