Monday, October 19, 2009

Picture Time!

Well - the rating was moved to next weekend for fear of inclement weather. We'll keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't get nasty next weekend too.

I had a great ride last night. I spent 45 minutes working in the arena. The first 15 minutes or so, we just walked. I have really begun to understand how important warming up is to Pandora. When I first get on, she just doesn't feel ready to work. She'll walk at a good pace if I make her, she'll bend if I make her, but today I just did what felt right. We walked on light contact on big, loopy circles, and gradually we started doing more things, more lateral work, more contact. By the time 15 minutes had gone by I was getting smooth, flowing, energetic walk work. Huh.

We also got some very nice trot and canter work. Her canter is really coming along and I'm seeing a benefit from making an effort to spend more time in the canter. Lots of adjustments: go forward, come back and hold it, circle, light counterflexion (as in stop leaning on my outside rein, please!), very shallow serpentines, and the like. She's definitely building more strength.

After the schooling session, Mom and I headed for a hack up and down the quiet driveway. The weather was beautiful - actually warm in the sunshine. I grabbed some apples from a horse-accessible tree and I can say with perfect honesty that they were the sweetest, juiciest apples I've ever had. The horses enjoyed their little bites too. We took a quick detour into the empty pasture to ride through the fun big ditch, then headed back up the Hill and then to the barn.

Pandora is getting a strip clip today. She's sweating too much with all that fur, and while she dries off nicely, I know it will only get worse. Still, she is looking just fantastic. The flake of alfalfa-orchard we've added to her dinner has made a big difference in her condition and she is building up more muscle. Both the girls seem so happy and cheerful every time we're out - they came up and said hi and were willing to come in from the pasture this morning, and they were just as willing to go out when we put them back outside after our ride.

You guys should see the way Pandora and McKinna interact. It's really cute. There's two other mares in their little "herd," and Pandora is the Boss Mare. McKinna gets to be Almost Bossy since she's buddies with Pandora. Case in point: Today we turned them loose and Pandora walked straight to the water trough, as usual. When released, McKinna took off to get to the water trough first, got in about a half-second of sipping, then Pandora glared at her and made her wait until SHE was done. All the while, Pandora glared at the other mares too. When she was done, she stood there for a minute - as if to remind everyone that if she wanted, she could keep them all away - then wandered away and let McKinna drink. (This from a mare who, when we first put her out with a herd, would go away if anyone looked at her sideways.)

Anyway, I've taken a lot of pictures with my cell phone that I haven't uploaded, so here's a big ol' bunch of them.

Fist, some comparisons:

Pandora in some of the earlier days of our ownership

Another early shot: conformation, last November

Conformation shot last week

Maybe the difference isn't as striking as I think it is, but the biggest thing I notice is her topline! Look at the difference in the base of her neck. And, uh, a way-better fitting halter, that blue one didn't fit too well.
Obviously this latest one is not the best picture, but she was not feeling like standing up politely for me and I didn't have anyone out there to help me.

The lovely standing wrap I did the other day in preparation for my rating!

I had learned to start towards the top of the middle, then wrap up, then down, then back up to middle to finish. I was reading through my PC manual and discovered that they show your wrap starting middle, going down then up then back to middle. So I tried it, and my wraps have never been nicer. Don't know if it's a coincidence, but I'm sticking with it.

The view from the saddle on a beautiful evening last month. This is the field that I went galloping in - I am at the top of a very nice gradual hill.

McKinna getting her teeth done! I love my vet. Also, McKinna is pathetic when she's sedated.

From this summer when we got THE FLY BONNET. I love that thing.

Actually, it does have a use. Pandora really hates flies. If she's all sweaty and they're buzzing around her ears, no matter how much fly spray or SWAT I have, she's still shaking her head and being grumpy. With the fly bonnet, it's a lot less.

Remember this?

Don't panic, that's not on her right now! This is a picture of the big old swelling she developed on the front of her gaskin after the Blanket Incident in the last week of March. I had forgotten how big and ugly it was! It took awhile to go down but it is gone now.

So there you have it. This week, yet again, I will be preparing for the rating...I am glad to have the extra week to clean my tack and study up, though, so you won't catch me complaining.


SprinklerBandit said...

My mare loves her fly bonnet. She absolutely can't work with flies on her ears, so I have to put it on every time I ride in the summer.


Good luck with the rating!

Leah Fry said...

Pandora looks great. Those fly bonnets crack me up.

Good luck with your rating.

Promise said...

Her topline is looking great!

FD said...

I do not know if there has ever been a study on it, heh, but I would say that the improvement of the wraps is definitely because of the change of method.

Basically wrapping down first prevents the wrap from drooping. Also, as the horse's leg is wider at the bottom than it is just under the knee, the degree of overlap required to wrap the padding securely under the knees is different to that at the pastern joint. So, you have the padding wrapped securely at the top, and then as you wrap down, you find yourself needing to adjust the overlap margin on the padding in order not to be wrapping too tight. Midway adjustments make bandaging fiddly.

Just my opinion of course ;) Oh and damn it was hard to type that using the word wraps instead of bandages. Over here, the padding is a wrap only if it's not called gamgee, or well, padding, and the wrap is always a bandage... unless you're putting them on a polo pony. Then they're wraps, for reasons that I have never discovered.

Pandora is really filling out nicely btw.

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