As many of you will know, Pea has recently had a 3 month holiday and so this month is being spent bringing him back into work. The first two weeks have been spent out hacking building his fitness up. Obviously, we still have a long way to go, however he does seem to be feeling really good and is so far being a saint coming back into work! He had his back done just prior to starting work again as he had become rather stiff behind and looked uncomfortable, especially in trot. My chiro made a few comments on just how hairy and fat he was looking, which is something she's not seen in him before! He definitely needs to lose weight and he will be clipped in December which will hopefully make him look smarter and will also help with him losing weight. He had put his pelvis out of place again and had a few tight spots but other than that he wasn't too bad. She mentioned that he needs to lift his back more which will help stop his pelvis from rotating, so we need to work on doing long and low work which is rather difficult for us! If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them!
For the first few days we just went for a short 20 minute walk, which Pea seemed rather confused about! I tend to try and stick to a 3 days work, one day off, three days work routine which doesn't always stick but tends to be our standard. So after a few days walking and then a day off, we increased the walk to around 25 minutes and I also included short trot steps. The thing with Pea, is that if I spend ages just walking then he'll get bored and start napping/bucking and misbehaving so I need to keep him entertained by doing lots of transitions, change of pace, and also some leg-yielding to open him up more. So for the past week and a half we have been increasing the trot work and incorporating some schooling whilst out hacking. Pea tends to get a bit lazy with his walk sometimes and so will trip. This used to concern me but after speaking to instructors we have established that it's mainly him just being lazy and that he needs to use his back end more to give more impulsion. I have dug out my spurs for the time being as he tends to ignore the whip and my leg so I need something to give him an extra 'listen to me' kind of aid! Hopefully once he gets into more work and gets fitter I can get rid of these again! I have also noticed that when we do a 'walk-trot' transition, he half stops before walking off and we have had one or two issues previously with him falling out of the transition so I have been taking advantage of hacking to do lots of these transitions and ensure that I keep my leg on to push him forward into the walk.
Over the past few days we have also introduced short bursts of canter. This wasn't necessarily the plan but plans change so hey ho! This change of plan was down to Pea who decided that if he can trot, he can canter too! The first time he attempted it was by playing his old trick of doing a short trot as normally when I nudged him on he'd canter off, though I was wiser to it this time so it didn't work but the next day I failed. He did his little half trot, half canter stride and then the next thing we're cantering. I have been rather apprehensive about cantering him as I've been expecting explosions, but so far so good! He has only had a short canter twice now and he has been well behaved each time which is a bit of a shock!
I have now started to slowly start schooling again and doing pole work which is something my vet recommended a while ago as he seems to be a little stiff in his stifles which the pole work will hopefully help out on! I am just keeping it short and sweet at the moment and nothing too taxing, sticking to walk and trot with large circles but plenty of transitions and some lateral work to open him up more and get him more responsive. I don't want to canter him in the arena until we've built it up more out hacking and he gets fitter with stronger muscles, especially as cantering in the school has been a major issue of ours previously.
I am contemplating doing a simple walk-trot dressage test in December just to have a bit of a play and see what he's like. There's one at my yard or there's one near-by so I'm debating which to do as he goes better away from home but I don't know whether to take him out just for one test... I am also hoping that he might be a bit fitter in December to start having lessons again as I have noticed a few issues rising such as him wavering a bit when trying to go straight and I also want some ideas on how to get him to lift his back and generate more power from behind.
Sorry for the rambling post! I felt that Pea hasn't been featured much on here as of late so decided to let you know what we're up to! There will also be the November Review at the end of the month and hopefully some better photos!
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Thanks for reading,