I have been really bad about keeping my blog updated, which usually means things are somewhat mundane and not worth reporting. However, this time, that is definitely not the case! The last few weeks have been going so well, I think there is a small part of me that doesn't want to jinx it by putting it down in black and white!
It all started with April's detox from the boys. Within a few days I had already noticed a marked improvement, and it has just continued to improve ever since. We babysit the different pasture arrangements to make sure she is never in close proximity to the geldings, and it has made such a dramatic difference. Then Kelsey returned from England last week, and we got back into our regular lesson program. The first lesson was at our farm on the flat, and it went better than any flat ride we have ever had. We are making sure we spend every minute possible at the walk until April truly "gives" to the contact and relaxes through her back. Once we reach that point, transitioning into our trot work is a night and day difference from where it was in the past.
Yesterday morning I had a lesson over fences at Kelsey's place, and it was probably one of the best jump schools we have ever had together. We worked on making the transition to the trot very low-key so that we can build instead of having to bring it back, which ends up making her feel trapped. The first fence we jumped was a little in and out combination, which went perfectly. Kelsey commented that I am doing a lot better job of staying up and steady through the fence instead of trying to "do" too much. In turn, April goes through the combination better and comes off the fence much more relaxed. Between me being quieter over fences and keeping my hands up and out in front of me, it is making a night and day difference. We schooled over a bending line a few times, then worked on a drop fence both directions, adding in a little trakehner as well. It was a fantastic ride, and I left soaring on air.
We are making so much progress, it feels unbelievable. I don't know what the difference is, but it has finally gotten to the point where the basic fundamentals seems to be clicking, and we are starting to build on each ride and have an actual progression, rather than being stuck in a vicious circle of the same battles time and again. I am planning to finally get her to our first event on the 21st of the month, and am a little nervous, but super excited as well.
Samson is doing well, and gets his new fancy footwear tomorrow. I am actually considering doing a free lease on him with a local therapeutic riding facility that takes FANTASTIC care of their horses. It was kind of ironic that his half-leaser gave notice, and within a day the therapeutic facility posted an ad that they are searching for a new horse for their program. I should be in contact with them on Monday about setting up a meeting, and we will take it from there. It is REALLY hard to think about letting him go to live somewhere else, but the financial stress would be relieved tremendously. Most importantly, I would know that he would always have the shoes he needs, be fed and cared for, and be in a routine light work program, which he really needs. I'm excited to see what comes of the whole situation, because I think it might really work out for the best. Not to mention, the farm is barely ten minutes away, so I would have full visiting rights - which I'm sure I would excercise regularly!
The hardest thing about letting Samson live somewhere else is the fact that he is the horse I trust to just jump on and do pretty much anything. But ironically, just the other night, Robyn and I hopped on April and Linkin bareback and went for a hack through some crazy terrain, and even hopped our little vertical on the way back. It really hit me afterwards that I am starting to have that partnership with April, and that it is totally possible that the big, fancy, uber-forward event horse might just be able to fulfill my other needs as well. Boy, if someone had told me a year ago the things I would be doing today, I'd think they were crazy. But I am loving each and every minute.