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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Continual Lunging FAIL

D'oh. Well, for whatever reason I continue to have lunging equipment failure. We had another wardrobe malfunction on Friday when I was lunging in Vicki's chambon. Like I said about it, it is THE most rudumentary chambon I've ever seen - it's just a piece of string with a nylon strap on it. I have to hook it up with double ended snaps to my surcingle! So off we go, we're lunging, we've been lunging for all of five minutes. I dunno if she did this on purpose, because it was hard to tell, but one instant she was trotting along and the next, POP! the ring on my girth that the chambon was attached to suddenly came flying off and cracked her in the face. She proceeded to do Very Big Trot for a few strides before realizing she had no need to be freaked out. It might have been partially torn out last week when she ripped on it freaking out momentarily, I dunno. It sure didn't give last week, but this week? Rrrrrrrrrip.

Well, I had certainly learned my lesson a few weeks ago on how NOT to lunge new-and-improved Volatile Gogo, so I just put her back on the lunge line and let her cruise for a minute. But she is SUCH A LLAMA when she's moving on her own that it just HURT to want her boinging around super inverted, and so I decided to try something I hadn't done in a long time. I dug out some sidereins.

Gogo the llama at Lake Erie, just so you know:

So sidereins. Put them on, walked off, she's cool, moved into trot. AHHH, Gogo said. Very VERY Big Trot and some panicked running at the canter, which is ALL just a leftover from her having such a mental breakdown a few weeks ago. She normally lunges in them just fine, but hangs around behind the vertical and doesn't use her body at all, and therefore I don't normally use them. This time, she was REALLY worried when we started out, I think because she felt trapped for a moment, like she gets sometimes. Then, she settled into them and gave me THE most gorgeous trot and canter - she actually was using her entire body fluidly instead of doing the whole put head down, move legs fast sort of thing that she used to do in sidereins. She had a few moments where she looked worried, but then really just relaxed and really used herself in full. Something else interesting to note - instead of curling behind the vertical or leaning on the sidereins, Gogo actually held herself up actual correct self-carriage. I was impressed... really impressed. I won't be using sidereins often, but it's interesting to note what kind of reaction she had to them. We finished with a nice, steady, relaxed siderein-y trot (had been doing lots of transitions) and called it a night.

Yesterday, I had a lesson, considering the fact that I was supposed to have a lesson on Thursday but it was dangerously cold out and so we all went to Neptune's Diner instead of working (the boss included!) XD She felt a bit tense right from the get go, walk work included. It really felt as though I had, well.. worked her in sidereins. It wasn't that she was doing the whole sidereins curling behind the contact thing... but she was yanking (gently yanking!) on my hands, something she's never done before. Not hard, and not forcefully, but just pushing out against my hands in an unpleasant kind of way. It felt like she was testing sidereins for give. She was also doing the obnoxious thing she does when she is tense and feeling confined - clacking her teeth. It's not really all that visible (doesn't get sneer with her lips like a lot of horses that do this do), but if you're near her you can hear it. Drives me insane, because she doesn't do it when she's totally chilled out and relaxed. We did a lot of walk-trot transitions to start, just trying to give her something simple to focus on, and then we progressed from there to some shoulder-in, very steep leg yields, decent quality trot lengthenings (not as stellar as they have been), fabulous canter lengthenings, focusing less on the technical difficulty of each exercise than the ability to maintain relaxation. By the end, she was suburb, but still not totally without tension - the teeth clacking was still going on. Vicki said she looked excellent and I believe her, but I could still feel that she was holding it somewhere, even if it wasn't visible. We were challenging her though, working her in shoulder-fore or haunches-in through every transition between gaits and within gaits, which were all coming rapid fire. Vicki also had me do something interesting that was instantly successful - I tend to jam downwards a bit with my right heel, which makes my calf come off of her side a little more than it should. Vicki had me think about unweighting my stirrups during each downward transition - making the transition as though I were about to remove my feet from the stirrups, which put my calves on her more during the transitions - and VOILA! Instant amazing transitions. Love that! We also talked a bit about positive and negative tension in horses, and how you physically have to have some sort of muscle tension in your body to do anything at all, simply because engaging a muscle creates tension. Sometimes, Gogo has only positive tension in her body, and some days, like yesterday, Gogo borderlines on negative tension. It's a very fine line to walk. We also ALSO talked about the Comfort Zone, the Achievement Zone, and the Panic Zone. The Comfort Zone is where Gogo is doing exactly what she knows how to do already, and is totally chill about it. Pushing her into the Achievement Zone maintains that steady mental mindset, but goes into more challenging work and learning new things. The Panic Zone is when you push too far into the Achievement Zone and have a meltdown. Gogo's Comfort Zone is fairly small, her Achiement Zone is a very tiny area that you have to be careful to stay in, and her Panic Zone is HUGE. If you push just a little too hard out of the Comfort Zone, you'll zoom right into the Panic Zone. Again with the walking fine lines thing! In all honesty though, that's what makes dressage fun for me. I love being able to try and toe the line where I can, and feeling just when I feel to back off, or just when I can ask for a little more. That developing sense of feel gets deeper and deeper with every ride, and has been gettng deeper and deeper since I was the age of 7 and first getting on a horse for lessons. It never stops developing, and I love that.

Hooray Gogo's new supplements are here! She's officially off Cosequin and Mare Magic (and consequently, Smartpak) for the time being, and is instead on bulk raspberry leaf (which I found for $4.20 a pound.... two pounds of Mare Magic is $55.99. $55.99 vs. $8.40? EASY CHOICE) and ProMotion EQ, the joint supplement I talked about. She just started it on Thursday, so I'll give it a few weeks and keep you updated on what I see and feel.

And what am I doing today you ask? Well, the 95 thousand Pony Club kids are all coming in again for their 9am-4pm clinic, so jumping isn't going to happen. I wanted to go hack out.... and then I had a better idea. It's supposed to be 55 today, which is awesome. There is a beach about an hour away (a real OCEAN beach with real SALT WATER, not just Lake Erie!!) that allows horses on it in the offseason (which is right now). So, that is where we are headed! Oh my god excited. SO excited.

1 comment:

Alighieri said...

You are going to the beach? Man, I am soooo jealous, I would love to do that with my horse. Although I think he would have a meltdown, so maybe another horse I own one day. We'll see. In any case, I'm about four hours away from a beach, so yeah...Have fun!