I set up the arena today to start working with Lilly again. I wanted to do more than just ride around on the rail, so I grabbed some ground poles to use to hopefully help strengthen her back and improve her topline. I decided 3 of them is a good place to start and the magic distance for her seems to be 3' apart. I have no idea what distance I'll need when we start trotting, but I suppose I can figure that out when we get there.
This jump was already set up, so I lowered it as low as it would go thinking it might be something else fun to walk over. On the lowest hole, it was less than 12" high.
These were already set up in the ring too. I have no idea what you'd use them for other than an incredible amount of sidepassing...
I'm going to follow the schedule I created for her and with any luck she'll be back in shape in no time. Here's what we worked on in the ring today:
10 minutes of loose rein walking on the rail and over ground poles
5 minutes of contact walking, 30-meter circles, and leg yields
5 minutes of trotting on the rail
1 lap at the canter in each direction
5 minutes of contact walking cool down
5 minutes of loose rein walking cool down
She seemed really nervous for most of the ride. It was cooler and breezy today, and this is really only her second time in the arena, but she was spooking at shadows on the ground caused by the light poles. That's a little out of character for her. I rode right around noon and there wasn't a cloud in the sky... So I'm wondering with the sand footing if it's too bright in there for her to see properly. I always wear my sunglasses because of the glare and wonder if I should ride her with a fly mask... it should work like a pair of sunglasses to reduce the glare for her, right?
She did really well over the ground poles, but since she was being spooky, she freaked out when I walked her to the jump. She did what I call the "doggie stretch" and rocked back on her rear end while leaving all 4 feet in place... goofball. I guess it snuck up on her. I told her it was ok and let her sniff it, and then she walked over, clunking it with all 4 feet. That's my girl!
We did some sidepassing over the zig zag poles and she did super. She would pivot on her forehand to turn her body for the next pole. After 2 of those I decided to move on.
The trot work went really well. She was consistent and was collected most of the time. I don't expect her to stay in frame for a whole 5 minutes at this point, but she did better than I expected. After 5 minutes of trotting, though, we were both tired! I'm getting back into riding shape right along with her!
Her canter was not so pretty. She got her leads in both directions, which is something I think she might finally have caught on to, but the canter itself was rough, and she tripped going in both directions. The last one was bad enough that I thought we might go ass over tea kettle... luckily she caught herself and we were able to pick the canter back up after getting settled.
All in all it was a great ride. I know I enjoyed it, and she seemed to as well. She was quite tired when it was all said and done, though.
Poor tired pony!