Update on Ava’s Training

I haven’t been very motivated to blog lately. Work has been killing me. Very stressful lately, and I’m so exhausted.

Recap of training:

Last month I had a lesson with Rosalind Kinstler to work on different exercises to get Ava more honest over her back and to increase engagment. This was about a month after my clinic with Pam Goodrich, so we had more forward at the trot by this point. The canter started out lacking forward and any time I took my leg off Ava dropped out of it. Roz quickly had it corrected and we were able to work on some different things that will build Ava’s canter up.

Roz had me do 10 meter circles at the trot in the corners, and as we came out of the 10m circle to push her haunches out (towards the wall). Think leg yield, but mainly just the haunches. This allowed Ava to really bring her inside hind up under her body. We had several periods of big, floaty trot coming out of the 10 meter circles. It felt really cool.

The canter work was not good, so Roz suggested we work on lots of supplying and engaging exercises. Roz talked me through what to look for in the haunches-in and shoulder-in and tips and techniques for aids while riding each. The main thing I took from that is to be less stagnant as a rider. Lightly pulse the leg aid in time with the stride to help the horse keep rhythm and so the horse doesn’t tune you out. Use my half-halts in time with the canter footfalls (I think it was when the front leg was on the ground but just picking up). I could feel when, but I’m still not great on where exactly the legs are.

After we got home from the clinic I had a week where I wasn’t able to ride very much (Ava had owies where the saddle goes). Then another week where I was able to ride, but every exercise I tried went horrendously. I couldn’t even get the 10m trot circle anymore. By the third week I was starting to get some progression in engagement and supplyness in trot and canter.

Last week I moved Ava to the new barn, and we were able to get in a few good rides. I’ve been focusing on the canter exercises to try to build more “jump” in the canter.

image

At new barn

Two Saturday’s from now we go back to Roz’s for another lesson. Last week i was having a really difficult time getting any kind of bend in the haunches-in left at the canter. And then on Friday Ava’s left rear leg swelled up substantially.  She wasn’t lame on it, no heat that I could detect. She seemed fine…. except with a swollen leg. I’m concerned because I believe it’s connected with the reason why the haunches in left is so difficult to attain. On Sunday her leg was just the tiniest bit puffy, and still no signs of lamness that I could detect. I’ll check her again after work today and possibly work her if I feel it’s safe to do so.

I wanted to make some massive progress this month in the canter work and I just don’t feel I’ve been able to. I’m kind of dissappointed. Roz is only here for summers so my time is limited with her. I wanted to capitalize on her expertise as much as possible while I could. We’ll see though… I know this stuff takes time, and I’d rather decrease the difficulty for Ava if it means she’s healthy and happy. Any other goals are secondary to Ava’s well being.

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