For most of this week, the forecast for this weekend was sunshine. Unfortunately, that didn't stick. This morning we were up early so I could work with Lucy before the next storm arrived sometime today. I wanted to start her on Pessoa conditioning program and maybe ride her a bit afterward.
It was overcast and cold when I gave her a quick going-over with the curry comb and brush. I put on her surcingle, grabbed the Pessoa, and headed to the small arena. The mares have been using it as their paddock until their pasture fence is repaired so Brett put Pistol in her stall.
I watched a YouTube video on how to set up the Pessoa and it was very helpful. Don't you love how you can Google anything and learn? So handy. Lucy is almost 15 and has been trained well. I was sure that she was familiar with side reins so I wasn't worried about the front part of the apparatus -- but the butt bar was new and the video said some horses object to it at first. Lucy didn't mind it at all.
Today we started with walk, for five minutes, in both directions. Lucy wasn't sure at first. She fell in a bit and looked confused. Then a light bulb went on and she started marching forward with her hind feet tracking up nicely.
Next, our instructions were to jog in each direction for five minutes. She started out very forward but quickly settled into a nice easy trot. I was happy to see her stepping under evenly on both sides and swinging in her back. Before her injections, her trot stride was very short and choppy in the back -- stabbing at the ground like a jack hammer instead of reaching and pushing forward. This morning, she wasn't over-tracking, but she was meeting her front print.
By the time we changed direction, after five minutes, she was starting to get tired. At one point she spooked and then got mad at the Pessoa. She kicked sideways at it a few times and then settled back into a trot. She was very tired when we finished. It was only 20 minutes of work but it was hard, muscle building work. I took off her tack and let her roll before putting her in the barn with Pistol.
The Pessoa puts a horse into a frame that works their core the way Pilate's works ours. It strengthens their back, their belly and their hind end. And it does this while encouraging them to work in a relaxed frame. Lucy had a beautiful stretchy trot and looked comfortable.
I've decided to work on my core as well. Its only fair -- we both need to get back our working muscles. I did a bit of yoga last night -- and was really sore today -- so Lucy had my complete sympathy when she got tired today.
Tonight, all the horses are tucked in the barn waiting for the snow that is expected to start during the night, continue tomorrow and last into Monday. Ugh.