Big Mare Struggles

It's nearly impossible for me to not compare Lucie to Summer. They're both mares. They're both gray. Both did A circuit shenanigans. They both tend to not really give a shit about anything happening around them. And they both canter like they have 12 legs.

Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but when I ride Lucie, I repeat what Coach S told me about Summer: "She's big, and she's long, and she's just a lot of horse." The intensity of the semester has kept me from being super consistent, but I try to leg her up once per week. Because she's large, out of shape, and generally sluggish, our warmup has become much more structured to get her loose and moving off my aids.

One of the most useful things has actually been starting my ride in two point. I think she appreciates having me off her back and with no contact to just do whatever she wants for the first bit of our ride. Even when I stop two pointing and go to rising trot, I keep the reins loose so she's encouraged to maintain the momentum. With the canter, I pepper in a few circles in each direction at the start of the ride. It involves a little bit of transition work but mostly focuses on getting good movement at each gait in both directions.

Thinking about walking directly into the pouring rain
Polework has also been a life saver for us. Calm horses are great until they aren't; homegirl gets too relaxed and too lazy far too often. The polework keeps her on her feet and focused through each lap. My favorite set up has been a super simple hashtag layout. I took away the slightly raised poles for a while because she kept jumping over them . . . A+ for effort, Lucie, but it's not that deep.

Coming to her senses
With all of that happening under saddle, I also added in stretches on the ground as well. Carrot stretches are an essential for her neck and back. To help her hind end, I use the same stretches that L recommended for Music. Lucie doesn't fight as much as Music, but it does take some encouraging to actually make her stretch into my hand.

That being said, I'm gonna start using a crop. The BO mentioned that she gets very hyped by spurs, so I'm trying the next best thing to reinforce my leg. I've gotten some good, forward, relaxed trot out of her before, but we need to be a lot more consistent before we try more complex things.

Really, thoroughly, honestly, completely unbothered


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