Tuesday was spent hand walking, cold hosing, etc.
Wednesday's ride started out fantastically. Cadence was supple, light, and relatively relaxed in her rhythm. She was spooking in her 'scary corner' because the door in that corner had been opened, but overall she was fantastic. Then we took a break, stretched, and when we picked back up I had a totally different horse. She was stiff, didn't want to bend properly to the right, and was displaying what I refer to as 'false contact'. Cadence is good at pretending, so technically she was bending when I asked her to, and technically she was carrying herself but her "bend" felt like pulling a plastic knife from one side to the other. She'd yield to the pressure, but bounce back to her stiff straight position immediately. And in regards to her self carriage, she was stiff and locked. So yeah, she wasn't putting any pressure on me, but she wasn't using herself properly either. Anywho, I spent 40 minutes trying to get back to where we started, but instead of getting better we just got worse. After my ride, I debated my options. In the end I decided to give myself one more day. If our ride today goes the same way as the last two, I'll call in the big guns and have someody else 'deal with her'. However, my mare's never quite as nice after someone else has worked with her as she is after a good ride with me. That sounds incredibly egotistical of me to say, but that's not how I mean it. I'm making progressively less sense as we go on here...
Okay. So when Cadence is going well, she's light, relaxed, carrying herself, and incredibly sensitive. However, she's also an opinionated little mare and while I love her tenacity when its working for me... every now and again she decides to use her skills for evil rather than good. Its important for her to remember that humans are not her minions, and that we're the herd leaders. But if you are harsh with her & correct her strongly, sometimes she assents and sees the error in her ways but most of the time she just gets angry and defensive. Thus, while its important to get her to see the light, you have to be tactful. Hopefully I'm making a little more sense here.
Yesterday when I rode, I tacked up with our dressage saddle and after a great w/t/c warm up we did our second mid-ride tack swap in one week. Our dressage saddle was switched out for a close contact,our back on track dressage pad swapped for a pretty blue and grey one and my new sheepskin, and the dressage girth was traded for the new Stubben jumping girth with belly guard that I picked up at Rolex for $300 off the listed price. A martingale & a pair of hind brushing boots were added, and we headed outside to do a little jumping.
I was informed yesterday that a few people would be heading out for an xc school this weekend, so I naturalyl jumped on hte opportunity, even though Cadence isn't really ready for that. Physically she'll be fine, but as of current we can't canter into a jump... so yesterday's ride was focused on calm and relaxed jumping. We warmed up over an x-rail, then popped over a one stride before setting 2 jumps up on a circle, and attempting to work on our canter approaches.
We trotted both fences a few times before getting brave and cantering the smaller of the two. Cadence cantered in beautifully, but about two strides out she grabbed the bit and hurled herself over the fence. That's really the only way to describe it... she was coming in perfect then she lurched and jumbled herself over the little jump. As we cantered away, she desparately tried to grab the bit again, tossed her head, shook her body, and was a general pain. So I brought her back to trot, aimed her at the next jump, and continued on. When she landed, I collected her canter, and cantered her up to the first fence again. About 3 strides out, I asked her to trot. She trotted, but managed to sneak in a canter stride before the jump again. We repeated this process until she'd come back to trot and stay in the trot, land, and canter calmly away. After doing this both directions, I let her canter up to one of the jumps and she did so beautifully, getting agood spot and everything! I let her have a little bit of a gallop after this, which was probably a bad thing to do... but I was just so proud of her. Man can she ever kick it into gear when she wants to. We ended the ride with a 15 minute hack around the corn fields and through the forest to cool out.