In both of my last two lessons we worked on getting warmed up the right way. At the walk. On a loose rein. For most people this is probably the easiest part of their lesson. For me, it's one of the hardest.
Riding at a brisk walk on a loose rein on a horse brings up all my fears. Allowing Licorice to have his head means he can look around. And boy does he like to look around. Sometimes he wants to look hard enough that he stops and refuses to go forward.
So we're walking around and I'm trying not to hold on to the grab strap and transmit all of my anxiety through my body into him. I'm mumbling under my breath and I keep doing these big sighs to let go of the pent up breath I'm holding. I must look a bit crazy with all the sighing and lifting my legs up off the saddle so I'm not clenching. But, I'm doing it. I've had two lessons in the last few days and our walk on the second lesson was already much improved.
I also put spurs back on, which was exciting and nerve wracking. I was really worried about my leg moving too much and leaving another spur rub. I'm happy to report that there was no spur rub! I did see a little darker patch on the right hand side though, so I really need to focus on letting my leg drop down and being still.
After our walk warm up, we worked a lot on getting consistent contact during transitions and in all gaits. Contact is hard for both of us. Finding the balance between softness and consistency is tricky and I have a really bad habit of allowing the reins to slide through my fingers. I even have rubber reins and it doesn't help!
I went out to ride yesterday and Licorice was off. He was kicking up at his belly with a back leg and flaring his nostrils. So, instead of a work out he got a nice long walk with lots of hand grazing. He was pooping, eating and drinking fine so we think it was a mild gas colic. Still, something to keep our eyes on. It turns out that although my new pony looks a lot sturdier than my princess pony, he's actually a sensitive boy. I'm contemplating putting him on the Smart Pak Smart Digest Ultra. He's currently on something called Succeed, but the Smart Pak has something called Colicare where you can get reimbursed for up to $7,500 if your horse needs surgery.
I'm glad I know Licorice well enough to know the signs of him being a little off. The next step is to see if we can pinpoint why he's off. Is it weather changes? Stall changes? Turnout changes? We just need to track it.
I finally got a white dressage pad during one of Dover's amazing Christmas deals. It looks amazing on Licorice. Now I just need some white polos....and to learn how to properly wrap polos. :)