Monday, October 12, 2009

My Weekend

I have been remiss in my duties as a farm owner. Or should I say "doo-dies". *lol* I am talking about poop picking, of course. Usually I'm pretty good about it, I do each pasture once a week. I don't even really mind it that much: it's good exercise, I get to be outside and it all goes into the compost heap for next years veggies. What's not to love? Unfortunately, I hadn't made time for the all important poop scooping for the last two weeks (maybe even three, I can't remember). Do you have any idea how much three horses poop in that amount of time? Of course you do. We all know those animals are the most inefficient digestors on the planet. As you may have guessed, my weekend was spent moving mountains, one pile at a time!

Saturday I over-did it a little and my sciatica started acting up. I did some yoga to try to loosen it up, but to no avail. So I gave Spider the day off. Sunday I felt better and wisely decided to ride first, then pick.

I wasn't super pleased with the ride. He was very resistant, not wanting to really track up from behind. I'm not sure what that's all about, hopefully it will resolve itself. If it continues I'll have to start over-analyzing and dissecting every little aspect of my riding, tack and arena footing until I'm so thoroughly confused that I give up all hope. In the end I worked him out of it and we did some good work, mostly more of the spiraling in and canter-walk transitions. To break up the monotony of the exercise (and keep Spider on his toes) I added some counter-canter into the mix. Rather than asking him to spiral in I would ask for a 20m figure eight pattern with no change of lead. Counter-canter helps with balance and collection as well, so it can only help in the long run. We also did some shoulder-fore and leg yields at the canter. At the trot I just asked for transitions from collected trot to medium or working trot and rode some serpentines at 20 and 10 meters.
Ah! I almost forgot to write about the most perplexing problem of all: Spider did not want to make trot to canter transitions. He would do walk to canter, but when asked for the transtion from trot he just trotted faster. I had to really exaggerate the aids and do major half-halts before asking for the transition. I'm not sure if this is a side effect from schooling walk-canter too much or a symptom of a soundness/pain issue. We shall see.


  1. Whenever I have that kind of training issue with my Boys, I suspect a physical problem. Hard to say what it could be, but if Spider does not want to engage his hocks in order to transition up to the canter, then hock or stifle it is.

    He could be just sore. A test dose of bute might tell you if it is physical. But bute might not help if he is simply muscle sore.

    Times like this, I wish they could tell us what's going on.

  2. Sciatica! Ouch - hope all feels better. I agree with Jean, it could be soreness. One thing that really helps me on gait transitions is to think the new rhythm, and don't ask for more forward, just the new rhythm. It also helps if you can time your cue for the canter departure when the hind leg that will strike off in canter (outside hind if you're doing true canter in an arena) is just leaving the ground in trot.

  3. Oh the drama of transitions. Admittedly, yours are more advanced than mine, but it seems like we keep working on the same issues over and over and over again... good luck, and take care of that Sciatica. I don't know what it is, but it doesn't sound fun.

  4. I also suspect a physical problem, but I'm trying to be in denial.

    Transition drama is universal, regardless of level. The only thing that changes is the hat and coat you get to wear while struggling with the transitions. *lol*


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