Another big week for Shasta!
This week, we've been working on Flexing, Down & Around, Bend at the Walk, Vertical Flexion at the Standstill, Walk, & Trot, Bending with Vertical, Stopping & Backing, Draw to Walk Transitions, Shoulder In/Out, Sidepassing, Turnarounds, Neck Reining, & Circle N Circle, which is a great exercise that encompasses many of the individual exercises.
At the end of our rides the past few days, I've also been cooling her down in a shank bit (which I believe you said Monte had ridden her in as well). I like how she feels in that bit & once your comfortable & proficient in the snaffle with a lot of the lateral softness exercises, I'll probably have you move her back into a shank for a majority of your rides.
She's been getting considerably softer & more responsive throughout her body. She does still have moments where she'd like to revert back & brace in her head & neck. While she's made nice progress in two weeks, that's something that will take time & consistency to get rid of that ingrained habit.
We've also been out in the pastures & she's ridden nicely out there at all gaits. No spook & no wanting to turn around & head home.
She's been pretty tender-footed on the lane & gravel roads, so I've tried to wait until we got a little moisture to soften things up for her. I wonder if that's not where part of her attraction to the grassy ditches comes from. First & foremost, I would get the extra weight off of her so that she's not having to carry that around. I would strongly encourage you to look into some Scoot Boots for when you want to travel over harder or rockier ground, as it doesn't take much for her to show sensitivity. While I would love to get a trim on her before she goes home to help shape things up a bit, she's just too sensitive. I would caution against going straight to shoes as they likely won't help her feet in the long term. However, it wouldn't hurt to even have x-rays done to be sure that she's not tender because of a navicular issue or something of that sort. In that case, shoes may be something that might be needed to keep her comfortable as she gets older. Bloodwork may also be a good thing to get to be sure that she's not metabolic. Both are good things to catch early so they can be managed appropriately so that you'll have Shasta in the best shape possible to keep her around for many many more years. 🙂
I know we've discussed it a bit previously, but the Academy would be a great next step for you & Shasta.
- Lexy Nuesch