Monday, August 17, 2015

Oops I Did It Again

Oops I did it again,
I forgot to blog, lost track of the days.
Oh baby, baby.
You think I will write, but try as I mi-iiiii-ight
I'm not that consistent.

That song will now be stuck in all of your heads all day.  You're welcome.

If it makes you feel any better, four different people in real life have texted me in the last week or so alone to tell me that they never see me and try to make plans... which I've scheduled for November. Not kidding.  So don't take it personally.  Between work being kind of crazy, and a bunch of family mandatory attendance events parties, and trying to do as much as I can on the new house, and keeping the horse in some sort of a regular program, time to write is kind of limited.

Anyone else take pics of their horse every time they grab them from turnout?
Anyway, I have to give you a detailed report of my lesson on Wednesday, which was eye-opening. We spent the whole lesson trying to get Tucker more consistent in the contact at the trot.  I've been feeling lately like the canter is getting better and better but the trot is regressing.  It's just not as steady or as forward as it was at one point, he's still not reaching for the bridle, and the contact feels really inconsistent with moments where he's behind the vertical.

I bounced around a few theories. (1) I may be neglecting his trot work.  I've been concentrating on transitions within the gait at the canter, halts, and doing a lot of my lateral work at the walk.  (2) I've been trying to learn to sit his trot, so all my shifting and squirming and bouncing (sorry horse) may be making his back tight or just leading to poor quality trot work. (3)  Connection in the trot has always been an issue, but this is the first lesson where we've focused solely on that, so it might just seem worse because we're exposing some big weaknesses.

I think I may have landed on a better theory though.  In my rides since my lesson, I have scrapped my usual long rein stretchy warm-up, in favor of 20-30 minutes of marching and lateral work asking him to go forward and get in the bridle at the walk before I move up to trot and canter.  I think that stretchy long rein stuff works in the cooler weather when he comes out with energy but needs to loosen up.  In the heat of the summer he comes out with all the nervous energy of a potato.  So long and low warm up equates to shuffling lazy beast who is allergic to everything resembling work.

I just can't resist.
So, when I start off that way, I make the objective very clear:  go forward into the bridle.  At the walk I have more control over my upper body and my hands, and I can be steadier and more deliberate with my aids. And if we walk for a while, he still has plenty of time to warm his muscles up.  I keep asking at the walk until I feel like he's consistently taking both reins, not leaning into the left rein and dropping the right.

Then we move up to the trot with a real connection, and for the most part so far he seems to stay there.  He's more forward, and our transitions within the gaits are smoother.  Since he's actually connected, I can work on straightening his neck and keeping him from coming above the bridle or over-bending in the leg yields without everything falling apart.  It feels like a breakthrough!

I don't have much riding time scheduled this week because of more family and work stuff, but that should give me a chance to catch up on my posts.  Or I'll just give you more Britney lyrics, I haven't decided yet....

I mean really.  He's the cutest.
(Also note Murphy-dog photo bomb)


  1. huh interesting - i might have to give this a try! i've been feeling like we've regressed a bit in our trot work and general connection too

  2. Oh the trot of your horse, I'm on a ride... hahaha that's the best I can come up with

  3. Temperatures definitely change the horse, so it makes sense they change the ride. Glad you're staying on top of things!

  4. Interesting concept. Lately I've been allowing my Tucker to stretch long and low to start but insisting that he still give me forward. I may have to try your method.

  5. It makes sense to try that where Tucker is in his training. I NEVER EVER school the walk on a green horse. I just try to keep Mo awake while walking. I ask Red to come into more of a frame. It sounds like it's working fabulously with Tucker!

    1. Yes, very good point. There was a time when working at the walk was not productive for Tucker either. A year or so ago I would never have tried to do walk work without trotting and cantering first.

  6. I'm also failing at blogging consistently. Ah well, it happens :-)


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