I’ve had a total of 5 lessons on Aria at this point! I can’t believe it. We’re starting to understand each other and she’s blowing huge holes into my foundation as a rider. Which is a good thing because obviously I’m not rock solid in certain areas. I want to be a solid structure as a rider.
The first 4 rides were just me feeling her out, riding her like a baby, and not applying too much pressure to perform at the level that trainer R gets out of her. She’s very fancy when R and P ride her. She’s not even in a frame when I ride her. Haha. If you want proof, look at my previous post.
The 5th ride P stepped it up big time. I was required to keep Aria in a working frame and we really pushed my doctor approved ‘20 minutes of trotting and cantering’ by just doing 45 minutes of trot work. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. My right leg was killing me after 20 minutes but I pushed through the pain because I was clearly loading on my right and maybe the pain would help me stay even a bit more. Spoiler alert: didn’t happen.
We had a great ride though. I see a lot of potential in Aria. She’s very much a challenge to ride right now because we are both trying to clarify cues, she’s constantly trying to get away with doing what she wants versus what I want, and she can get sticky (read: lazy) but I’m having fun and I get to watch P warm Aria up before each lesson, which is a treat because P rides like this:
What I’ve really enjoyed most is the transformation that Aria has undergone.
In 2016 Aria looked like a yak more than an Andalusian. There are aspects of her head that still make me wonder how much Pura Raza Espanol she has…
I think the most obvious difference is she’s kind of grown into her head and neck a bit. Or at least she’s filled out enough that they don’t look nearly as big as before. She doesn’t always photograph well to show muscle tone but the overall impression I get from her in her recent photo is that she looks like an adult. Her lines aren’t so jagged and angular anymore.
Her neck has filled out even though the pictures are taken on her mane side (remind me to either braid or take pictures from the other side) and her crest is muscled closer to her withers now. Her shoulder and chest have filled out. From the front she doesn’t seem too wide anymore. Her barrel connecting to her flank is more filled out and her hindquarters are rounder from muscle.
Somehow her ears look smaller now. Her tail has grown a lot since it was chewed off. You can also tell more muscle is happening in the back end because her tail head is less visible. We’ve been trying to bulk her up and help her develop more muscle in the past two months but she seems pretty happy at this current weight. She’s not a big eater and I think her limited diet of timothy hay and rice bran may play a factor in her protein intake and muscle building. I plan to ask my vet but if anyone has any suggestions on a way to get protein into a horse that isn’t wheat or alfalfa, I’m all ears.
She’s turning 5 this spring and Andalusians are notorious for growing slowly (which is why I didn’t want anyone to back her until she was 4). I’m sure we wont see her full physique until she’s 10 but this is already a dramatic improvement!