Long time no updates! B had at least four weeks off after she moved back home due to wonderful New England weather. She’s been in light work the last three weeks while I was barn sitting and working full time. Despite the lack of work, she’s feeling really good and pretty strong. I’ve been trying to focus on my position a lot which is always the key to our success and we’ve been mixing it up a lot. We’ve been doing lots of polework, hacking in the jump saddle, and even popped through a little cavaletti bounce the other week. My goal is to try to work her out of the ring as much as I’m able to and just keep mixing things up. Her canter work has been amazing! Good balance, energy, and really starting to develop the jump and self carriage. She’s obedient to the walk canter walk transitions and just really impressing me with her willingness. I also feel really great in the canter position wise. She does lose the outside shoulder/inside bend over the poles tracking right but I think she’s just over bending the neck too much and I’m losing the left shoulder. Trot needs work but significantly improved. I’m learning to get our argument over with quickly about the contact/in front of the leg thing and not backing down when she tries to get me to back off. The other day we did a ton of trot halt trot transitions until she was light in the hand and prompt off the leg. I could really feel that she was bending and sitting on her hind legs - a feeling I usually only get in lessons - which made me realize I need to be more demanding and get that quality trot earlier so I can work her for shorter periods with quality trot work versus long periods with her crappy on the forehand trot. Today when I tried the same thing she got better (obedience wise) but I didn’t get the really good hind leg feeling like I did before. After a walk break we played with shoulder in tracking left and sorted out some obedience/straightness issues there where she wasn’t honestly off the inside leg or allowing me to bring the shoulder in off the outside rein. We added in 10 m circles and a little counter flexion until she understood what I wanted, then played with lots of transitions in and out of shoulder in and that helped me get the nicely engaged hind leg feeling back again. Shoulder in right was much easier for her. We did a little more canter each way then a stretchy canter over the poles and some stretchy trot all while maintaining the nice balance and bend of the hind legs. My trainer is back from vacation and she saw the end of our ride and thought she looked much stronger and much more forward. Plan is to trailer out for a hack tomorrow and maybe take a lesson Monday.
Just because you own a dressage horse, doesn’t mean, the only thing it can do is dressage. Expanding the horse’s capacity is just as important as improving a certain disciplin. Besides, their’s a lot of great benefits of for example going on a trailside, doing polework, agility, round-up and so on. Horses doing more than just one specific thing, are actually better and faster learners.
I took Demi out for an agility lesson this Saturday and he absolutely loved it! I could really feel how he enjoyed doing something else, than just going for a ride. Besides this might help me, getting a more relaxed horse when handling him from the ground, which is really needed. This is couldn’t obtain, if I just rode him every time I was around him. Groundwork is extremely important and necessary, when handling horse, especially with a nervous and curious horse like Demi.
Marebutt has graduated to polework!! I’m trying to get more power out of her trot and get her swinging through the back more. Poor thing has never used her whole body to move, she’s naturally so uphill that she just moved up and down with very little power. But now she’s using herself much better and poor booboo gets so tired! Our rides went from about an hour to 30 minutes max. My sweet squiggles :3