Thursday, 16 August 2007

Wilastra's first hack with me

Somehow, Wilastra's owner and I, managed to fit a lovely long hack in between a couple of afternoon showers. We even experienced some lovely sunny moments and I must say that Buckinghamshire countryside is truly a treat! The idea was for me to get acquainted with the young mare out of doors and away from artificial environment of the arena.
Wilastra started off a little short and unsure and her stride was very careful. Although she learns very quickly and it is easy to forget how young she is there is still a lot for her to be confident with. She does not like the slopes and is very watchful going down the hill. She hesitates slightly to lengthen the stride going down the slope but conquering the hills up is her worst play at the moment. We went up fairly steep hill and bless her young soul she must have taken the smallest steps in the universe and couldn't quite figure out how to climb the monstrous slope! I sat quietly and gave her all the time in the world to find her bearings and locate her long legs. She will be hacked a lot in the next few months and given as many chances as possible to acquire better awareness of her own body when faced with changing terrain.
I would also like her to be much more responsive off the legs but I am pretty sure this will come in time once she is stronger and can deal with her own powerful paces.
We did about 40 minutes walking with some trots in between and a few canters. Her walk became better and better and not surprisingly her 'home walk' was great. The trot work still needs a lot of practise and attention but is absolutely fine for her stage. She keeps fairly steady round outline easily and when she looses it it is mainly due to balance issues.
There are not many things that spook her, she does look interested and focused on new things but is easily convinced that there are no monsters around! We passed some tractors, vans, other horses, bicycles (most exciting for young lady!) and despite pricking her ears and looking all pretty she didn't bat an eyelid! I was very pleased with her.
All this is not to say she cannot be spirited...during the first canter I let her choose her own rhythm and didn't ask for much. She kept it at a good gear and it felt powerful. The second canter we did on a lovely, freshly cut field and I just couldn't stop myself from checking whether she would go a little faster. I put a leg on and yes, she loved it ! It was only a short stretch but it felt good and she was prancing about once I pulled up, blowing the air out loud, her tail up as if to say: 'Hey, did you see THAT! It was me!'.
Pictured is Wilastra back home munching on her Top Spec goodies and looking pleased with herself :)
We are off to a XC schooling on Saturday, let's hope young lady behaves herself and we are both back in one piece!
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