At the risk of being a broken record, I must say Q has been out of this world. We have to consider where he began. The first time I rode the little guy he would –
- Be incredibly behind your leg, borderline catatonic
- Not engage his hind end (weak, plodding tracking, see point above)
- Crane his head and chomp on bit
- Aggressively pop his shoulder to the left
- Fall in through any inside turn (see point above)
- Lean heavily on your hand
- Refuse to do walk to canter transitions
- Fall and stumble on downward transitions
Now, hold on, I am not saying I am the savior that fixed these problems. Far from it. Nor am I saying that all these symptoms are fixed.
However, I cannot believe the horse I sit on when I ride this week as compared to the one I rode a couple months ago. With a good farrier and regular work under non-beginner-lesson students, Q has so much more balance and strength to each of his gaits.
Truly, cantering up to jumps is enjoyable (and not feeling as if we are in reverse, on a treadmill).
I have also come a long way with Q, as lord knows, he is not the only one with issues to unpack. I am a leaning, fingers-opening, shoulder hunching monster at times. His balance question marks have instilled a center of gravity that is deep in my heels, rather than pinching in my knees as I am occasionally known to do.
His slower pace transformed by aggressive “get ‘er done” tactics with relaxation and nuance.
It’s a wonderful thing – to do right by each other – and in that way I truly feel as though we are partners.
This weekend should finally mark a jumping lesson. I am looking forward to hopping over some fences for the first time in over a month (darn, rain).
How have you all progressed over winter?