Riding Sky and Overprotective Parenting
Sky and I are finally starting to get to know each other under saddle. I took it pretty easy on her the first week and didn’t really do anything but walk under saddle, but we’ve had a few nice rides now. Hard to believe she hasn’t even been here two weeks yet! You will noticed that I’ve dropped the second y from the end of her name. I’m not in love with the name Sky but everyone, including me, thinks of her as Sky now so I guess the name is here to stay! The name is starting to grow on me though, just like she is.
I plan to do a lot of long and low work at the walk, trot and canter in the next few weeks and work on asking her to relax through her back and stretch into an active, soft contact. After just a few rides she is already starting to get the concept at the walk and trot. I won’t push for it at the canter until she’s really getting it at the walk and trot. She is also clearly not used to someone truly sitting the canter and is very used to more of a half seat, hunter type ride at the canter. With the incredibly willing attitude and quick learning she’s shown me in our first three real rides together it looks like it will be fun to really develop her flatwork. I’ve already started to incorporate lots of poles in our flatwork and will pop her over a few low fences sometime soon.
Just as she needs some gymnasticizing on the flat I’m sure our jumping will consist of mainly gymnastics at first also. Every Saturday in August our local pony club chapter will have the cross country course used for the Middle Tennessee Pony Club Horse Trials open for schooling. The MTPC Horse Trials is actually the oldest consecutively run recognized horse trial in the country. Hopefully I’ll have time to take her over there and we can cruise around, go up and down the bank, through the water jump and take in all the sights. She’s never seen a cross country course before but she is so sweet and quiet I’m thinking she’ll take it well!
I would love to hear about your favorite exercises for relaxing and stretching the topline and teaching them to have true contact. I plan on doing lots of leg yields, spiraling in and out on a circle, changes of direction, etc. Pretty much the usual, basic things. I’m trying to focus on having soft hands and showing her a very inviting contact that she would like to accept. I’m pretty rusty since I’ve been mostly out of the saddle the last few years so any exercises and tips are welcome. It is amazing all of the things you forget when you aren’t using them. I also plan on taking dressage lessons as well after we’ve gotten to know each other more. I’m lucky to have Tami Crawford, an excellent Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer, just seven miles away from me. Tami qualified for the Olympic selection trials on one of her horses a few years ago so I’m excited to take some lessons from her.
Anyway, the vet was out to see Jo on Friday. We put Mina and Jo in their stall and she examined both of them for a couple of minutes. Then she looked at us and said “I’m not sure why I’m here. These two goats look amazing. Their coats have a gorgeous shine, their gum tissue and soft tissue around the eyes have perfect color and their weight is excellent.” We reiterated to her that Jo had dropped a decent amount of weight and we weren’t sure if it was a growth spurt, parasites, or what and that even Mina had dropped a little weight. Well, she said Mina didn’t need to get any heavier or she would be really fat (good thing she didn’t see her a couple of weeks ago!!!) and that Jo was in perfect weight. As it turns out Jason and I had fat goats that dropped down to a better weight. Oops. What can I say, this isn’t the place to be if you want to be a skinny, sad looking animal! We were happy that we had the vet out for absolutely nothing, a much better outcome than it being something!