Liam took almost a month off, limping around on his bad ankle. The vet tried injecting it, and that didn’t help, and Liam got some front shoes in an attempt to support the joint more, but that didn’t help either. It seems he just needed time to get through the spring weather changes. Then one day, he woke up feeling good and was back to work. He absolutely amazes me how he can do that, but I’m just glad he’s feeling better! Now he’s been back to work about 3 weeks, and picked up right where he left off. He seems to be going well in his new shoes, and I’ve been riding him in Remy’s new saddle, which he seems to like. He’s been making progress easily, making up for lost time. The haunches-in had been real hard for us before his time off, but now he seems to just “get it” in a way he didn’t before. Same with the counter-canter, it had been real hard but now is starting to fall into place. I can’t help but wonder if the new saddle, which is foam and flocked instead of the CAIR panels, is letting me give him clearer aids with my seat. The saddle definitely lets more of his movement through to me, and probably also lets more of my movement through to him.
Today we had a very fun ride, playing with our flying changes. He is getting really good! We are starting to put multiple changes together. Because our arena is shorter than a regulation dressage ring, it is challenging to keep Liam right on my aids since there is no extra room to reorganize the canter if it gets messy. He still wants to get ahead of me sometimes, but we can pretty reliably get two changes down the long sides.
I was trying to figure out where I had room to fit in more than 2 changes, and figured across the diagonal I could get three. I tried to do 4 tempi’s (a flying change every fourth stride), but ran out of room, so after a few failed attempts, I decided I’d just go for 3 tempi’s! They are not perfectly pretty, but they fit. So here is our first ever attempt at 3 tempi’s! When/if it finally stops raining and dries up, we can work in the outdoor arena and have a little more space to play, but for now, Liam and I sure are having fun working with what we have!
I’m so proud of Liam! The more difficult the work gets, the more he seems to enjoy it. He’s such a smart, athletic horse that just thrives on a challenge, he makes riding such a joy!