Went to the barn after work tonight to get in a good ride. It was pretty hot out and I had to get my motivation up to make sure I get a good ride in. Possum came right up to the gate and was ready to come in. It took a while to groom him up because he was filthy and shedding! When I got to hid ears I always know his favorite spots. The farrier was there and some of the kids were holding a horse for him and all laughed when they saw the expression on Possum's face. He stretched his head down and forward as far as the crossties would allow him and I scratched away. His eyes rolled in the back of is head and his lower lip dropped. He really looked like an ugle mule, but he was thoroughly enjoying himself. After he was all clean I tacked him up and away we went in the outdoor arena. He was a little sluggish to start. I took a long time walking and taking special care of his funky hind end deal. Then we did long sessions of trotting all the way around the arena. I was really wanting to work on my equitation and let him trot along on a long rein. I focused on my lowered heel and keeping contact with my calf and thigh while trying to keep my hips back and back arched. Did lots of surpentines and then started working on transitions making him more sensitive to downwards, getting to use less rien and more legs and seat. He was doing pretty well.
We then warmed up at the canter and he was pretty decent, although at the top of the arena turning left down the long side I could feel a slight heisitation and a small twist in his ribs. I kept my weight even and tried to support him as much as I could not wanting him to lose that hind end lead. After thoroughly cantering him in both directions it was time to work on the meat and potatoes of the ride. First we did walk halt and then trot walks and eventually worked up to canter walks and canter trots. I wanted to mix it up to make sure that he was listening to me and not just expecting on what was happening next. Towards the end of the ride he was doing really well. I gave him lots of praise when he did it well and let him have a walk break. Positive reinforcement is a big part in how I train and work a horse. They need to clearly know when they do it correctly and when it's incorrect. When they do it right I like to reward them on a job well done. After getting many canter trots and then canter walks I let him end on that. I opted not to do any jumping. I didn't want to push the issue with his left hind. We walked around the farm to cool out. It was so ot when I was riding that I felt the sweat dripping off my face. As we were walking around I felt refreshed and like we had accomplished something. Sometimes it's about taking a small bite instead of the whole thing when it comes to working on areas that need improvement. Today it was downwards and I was satisified with the results.
Whenever I have a good productive ride I always feel more clear headed. My body also feels good working and burning calories. I sometimes have a bad habit on my downwards to let my hips move side to side. I concentrated on keeping my upper body still, my arms bent and letting my seat bones settle in the saddle. Since Possum is very downhill he needs a lot of support on clean downward transitions and it takes an incredible amount of core strength. After Possum was thooughly cooled out I untacked him and gave him a good brushing since he was quite sweaty. I gave him a treat and then turned him out to eat his hay for the night. I don't think I'm riding tomorrow, but I hope to ride again Thursday and work a little more on transition and then possibly trotting jumps. Troting jumps is always good for a horse rider. It gets them using their body and can develop an even better eye. It also gets them snappy with the front end. For the rider it's good practice for position and distances. Well I think that's about it. I'm just home sitting in the ac and watching re-runs of the Cosby show. It's so funny because as a kid I was allowed to watch it and then I had to go to bed right after. I used to hate it that in the summer my parents made me go to bed when it was still light out. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those care free days when I only lived in the moment and my biggest worries were if we were going to the beach that day. Oh well, life is good. With freedom comes responsibility and at this age it's just learning to balance the two.