Sunday, June 5, 2011

Catching Up

Yeesh, the computer has been giving me fits lately.  Blogger has been acting up, not letting me upload pics, post comments or edit posts, and my home DSL is being naughty, too.  That's the price I pay for living in the boonies, I suppose.  Something is always going on out here: trees go down, reckless drivers hit poles, errant groundhogs cause a ruckus.  Well, I don't know about the groundhogs, but the other things happen on a regular basis, frequently knocking out power, cable and phone lines.  We switched from cable to satellite because the cable was always going out and we thought that having a satellite dish would fix that.  Evidently not.

In horse related news, Spider continues to do well.  It took a few days for both of us to adjust to the new saddle fit, but once we did his canter improved tremendously.  Right now we're working on counter-canter to build up his strength and flexibility in canter.  He still throws flying changes out when he becomes unbalanced, but they're becoming less frequent.  The changes he does throw out are cleaner, too.  Less of a "fall" into the new lead and more of a collected "leap" into the new lead.  Before I ask for counter-canter, I've been asking for shoulder-in (if we're walking and I'm going to ask for the "wrong" lead) or shoulder-fore (if we're already cantering and I'm just going to change rein) to establish and/or exaggerate the bend.  Seems to be doing the trick.  The canter is still not quite good enough to get a canter-walk transition from, but it's getting there.

I've also re-introduced the half pass.  I had started working on it a few years ago, then abandoned it because I wasn't riding consistently enough.  I saw a clinic with Conrad Schumacher (on RFDTV) in which he was showing someone how to introduce half-pass.  He had them begin with a volte at walk, then half-pass at walk and about halfway across the ring ask for trot (still half-passing).  I thought that was interesting, I've never seen it trained that way.  When I began teaching it to Spider years ago, I just went for it straight from trot: volte, then think "shoulder-fore", but ask for a sideways movement, too.  Sometimes I'd get a little half pass, sometimes I'd lose the bend and end up with a leg-yield.  Schumacher recommended starting at walk because you can clearly establish the aids and the bend more easily at walk, then when you feel the horse is ready, ask for trot.  I haven't felt that Spider is "ready" yet, so I've only done it at walk.  Eventually, we'll graduate to trot, I'm sure (maybe).

Actually, my sitting trot is abysmal because of my back and neck.  I can't sustain it for very long without becoming stiff and painful.  I've made an appointment for the 16th of this month to see a group of spine specialists.  Previously I've always seen orthopedists and neurosurgeons, who divide patients into two groups: "Good Surgical Candidates" and "Go Away".  I'm always in the "Go Away" group.  This time, I will be seeing a doctor who specializes in rehabilitative medicine.  We'll see what he says.

Spider doesn't care about sitting trot, half pass or counter canter.  He only cares about green grass!


  1. Glad to hear you found someone to take you in a better healing direction Shannon. Please keep us posted - and my very best wishes for success.

    Sounds like you're managing to make good progress with Spider anyway! :)

  2. That last picture is gorgeous. You make me miss the horses of my youth. Oh, well. Looks like we have spine problems in common. My broken vertebrae is most like due to old age. I hope the rehabilitation doctor can figure out how to make you better.

  3. Well done with Spider. I introduce the concept of half pass at the walk as well, but I've never transitioned to trot in a walk half pass. Interesting technique.

    Sometimes orthopedic surgeons only see one aspect of how to treat conditions. Going to a different kind of doctor is a good idea. You need a new vision to help you out.

  4. Great work with Spider. It all sounds very interesting, wish I was that far along with Blue.

    I wish you lots of luck with the new doctor's, hope they can help.

  5. Good luck, and I admire you for riding despite your neck and back issues. That speaks to your passion, for sure.

  6. He's a beautiful horse! Hope your training continues well - sounds like he's doing great.

    Do you have someone who does ART (active release therapy) in your area? I was injured forever and thought I'd never get over it. Then my orthopedic specialist sent me to someone licensed in ART. It took about 5 treatments, but now I'm just fine.

  7. Sounds like you are making some great progress and enjoying it which is the most important.

  8. Good luck with your appointment. I hope the new doctor can help you out.

  9. Thanks for sharing the half pass technique. Makes a lot of sense and I like the way it builds the pieces. Glad the training is coming so well.
    I hope the new approahc to back treatment is helpful.

  10. I switched to using Chrome as my browser and lots of the Blogger issues went away.

    I hope the new doc can do something for you. Pain stinks.


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