Back to the Grindstone…

Did anyone else struggle to get up to go to work today?

It`s all they talked about on the radio this morning, and everyone I saw definitely looked to be in the glumps (n.b. that means they were a gloomy and down in the dumps).

I wasn`t quite sure what sort of mood I was in; whether I was ready to go back to work today or not. I think another day at home writing wedding invitations may have caused me to implode, but after yesterday`s very wet hack, where Otis felt particularly exuberant and decided that he really belonged in the Spanish Riding School and demonstrated various airs above the ground (unfortunately the headcam was turned off at that point) I was ready to throw in the towel. Quite literally, because I was doing a fairly good impression of a drowned rat.

I think the usual January depression – lack of festivities, exhaustion from over socialising, empty purses – combined with wet mud, slippery conditions, and constant rain, was a bad combination on the eve of the new working year.


Anyway, I got up early as usual for me, and thankfully it wasn`t raining. I schooled a wiggly and inattentive Otis in the half light and then poo-picked in the full light, before going off to my first lesson. Somehow I managed to be late – not sure how that happened – but it was actually a good lesson to kick start 2016. I introduced poles on a circle to help improve the quality of the horse`s trot, and you could see the gelding settle into work and improve throughout the lesson. This always helps motivate everyone for the next few sessions, and I want to continue with the polework, raising them and using them for canter, to further improve his balance and coordination. At 17 hands high, the dressage arena always feels small so his rider needs to be able to use all her space to her advantage and not waste time as he rushes or cuts corners.

Then I headed over to ride a clients horse while she suffers from a chest infection. He`s a very sensitive horse with a bad past so I spent most of my time pressing buttons and getting to know him. I`m riding him again next week so I`m looking forwards to continuing. His instinctive reaction when pushed out of his comfort zone, to work on an inner track per say, is to slow down and hollow his back, so much of the time I settled him in his comfort zone and then tried to keep it when asked to do something different. I found that you had to gently point him in the right direction and almost dare him to do it so that there was no pressure and he found things out for himself. The big thing I want to work on is to teach him to move his head and neck independently from his body, so his rider is able to correct him on circles and turns more easily and diffuse any tense situations by being able to unlock his neck and so relax him more easily. It will be a slow and steady journey with him, but he`s a sweet horse so it will be enjoyable.

To finish off the morning I took a little mare for a hack with a friend. The mare isn`t always sure about going forwards so I hoped that having a non-racing companion would encourage her to open her stride and use herself properly without stopping and plunging up and down, bucking – for your entertainment, here is the video from our ride – here

Hopefully it stays dry for the rest of the day as I`ve two lessons after school before Pilates, and I`m sure I`ll ache after a fortnight off!


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