I had a riding lesson yesterday, which went pretty well. Sherwin agreed that $3000 would be the maximum price I could sell Chic for. I am glad that I now know that what I had in mind was realistic. Sherwin told me that Chic’s strongest selling point is how she moves. She has a nice, flat knee and is very well coordinated without a rider. I shouldn’t worry too much about the clippers and trailering, but should still train her to accept each. She would make a phenomenal children’s hunter according to Sherwin. She will definitely win the flat classes. As far as jumping goes, that will be up to her new owners. A child who is moving up from riding ponies would be a good new rider for her, however I would be worried for the child’s safety. Chic is still very green. Either way, now I know more about what I need to advertise her for. I don’t need to worry about her being unregistered, even though I would prefer she be. I also want to get her Coggins done, just to prove that she is not ill, along with a regular vet check and shots. She also needs another trim. (I guess all of this goes to show that, while I may be done with my Senior Project product, I am most certainly not done with Chic.)
A problem is that she is not lifting her back when we are riding in a straight line. Sherwin said that this is because she wasn’t started properly. I should have lunged her much more often in order to strengthen her back. A horse lifts her back when she is traveling with a bend better than when she is going in a straight line. This is because, when a horse travelling in a bend, her rib-cage is more sprung and she has to bring her hind legs more underneath herself. This is still hard for me to explain, but I found a website that explains it very well: http://www.classicaldressage.co.uk/activating_the_hind_legs.HTM
I am a bit heavy for Chic, which causes her to hollow her back even more. However, I can help this by flexing my inner thighs and placing my weight there, instead of in my bum. This is harder for the rider (as in physically difficult, but it is an excellent workout and helps me be more conscious of my position), but easier for the horse to round her back. I focused on this throughout the lesson in addition to everything else Sherwin was telling me. Chic was quitting on us a lot during the lesson, when we were working on small circles at the trot. This is because of how weak her back is when asked to lift it, and also because I did identical exercises with her last night for about forty-five minutes. Still, Sherwin seemed pleased with how I encouraged her to go forward. He had me dismount after an hour of riding and lunge her so that he could asses how she moves without a rider. Her head was steady, her legs were more coordinated, and her back was not quite as hollow. Still not fully pleased, Sherwin got his trap/martingale and attached it to Chic. The trap keeps her head in a set position, while the reins (hooked underneath the stirrups) kept her from dropping her head too low. She resisted at first, obviously not pleased with her head being restricted, but I was persistent, and soon she was travelling very nicely. Her back was much rounder and her legs were even more in sync with each other. She reached further underneath herself with her hind legs, and extended more in the front. I need to use this device with her at least three to four times a week, lunging her, so that her back gets strong enough for her to lift even when going straight. This also improves her overall movement. After half an hour of lunging, we all called it a day and I headed back to the barn with Chic.
I am really going to miss her. She has so much potential and is going to win somebody a lot of money. Hopefully, she will win their heart first.