A week of Connected work

If the old superstition is true – that what you do as the old year changes to the new is what you will be doing, themewise, for the new year – that means I’ll be doing home remodeling, paying bills, budgeting and trying to get my kids to clean their rooms! Hmm that sounds about right…

I also spent the week doing Connected Groundwork (Peggy Cummings) exercises with Z and have much to report and to think upon. For those who have read the blog know that I’m a bit of a skeptical bitch (no, don’t protest I know my good and bad points) so after the first couple of sessions of doing Connected work with Z I had thoughts I didn’t want to post right away.

I’m not easily impressed, and I have to say a week later that I’m very impressed with this type of work. However, it’s been hard to articulate what has impressed me so I’ll do my best here and in the next few posts.

I’ve been focusing on the 5 exercises that free the head and the neck: Cheek Press; Cheek Delienetation; Chin Rest; Caterpillar (intersperse with a combing on the line – does induce motion); and Shoulder Delieneation (which I added just yesterday) and can be added with Linda Tellington-Jones Hoof Circles for more freeing of the shoulder. I also added the Heart Girth press yesterday. I’ve done two sessions with Connected Lunging.

Here’s how our work generally starts out with a light snack of alfalfa and me hanging out.

Then she gets a bit of a warm up at Liberty, focusing on walk, trot, inside turns and transitions. It was during this work I noticed that the right hind was really coming up short still, and that she was still having issues taking and maintaining the canter.

I spent the week getting a better feel on how to work the Connected lines. This work is very different then what I am used to – work at liberty or on a free, loose rein (i.e.. Hempfling and Dorrance) and I am still very clumsy doing it. here are some various photos of me doing okay:

Drawing the Bow

The grimaces and frowns are because I am trying to concentrate!

The next photo I lose the connection; Z comes too much inside and line goes slack.

Anyway back to my impressions and thoughts upon this. I was really surprised at the amount of resistance Z gave me. For example, yesterday I did the shoulder delienation and the heart girth and she tried to kick or bite me. This tells me that I need to lighten my touch and that she is still have a considerable amount of pain, despite last years chiro work.

What I’ve noticed is also little things, things you can feel but are hard to describe. Like how she may tense but then releases and relaxes, bringing her head down, licking and walking more freely. How she behaves after the work is completed. I am interested to see what I’ll think once we have worked our way through more exercises and I feel more competent with what I’m doing.

We have a lot to do in Jan-Feb, before Rugby Guy comes back in March-April-May to put a solid 90 days on her before I make a decision whether I move her up to Missouri (where it is cheaper board) or do another 2 months of trail riding training before she leaves.

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