I don't know what it is about winter that has brought the spring out of Guinness' step, but I'm loving it. The last few rides, he's been an amazingly uphill and springy mover. His trot is bouncy. Not in a jar-you-outta-the-saddle kind of way, but more of an amazingly flowing and gorgeous way. He feels collected, and light, and connected. His relaxation has been off the charts (for him), and his willingness to tackle hard work is surprising me with every ride.
Who is this horse, and what has he done with my Guinness?
The bad part for me has been trying to learn to ride this newly animated trot. My core strength feels as though it's completely gone away, and I can feel myself collapsing a bit when he really pushes from behind. Must. Stay. Upright. And. Supportive...
One thing that I think has really unlocked this trot is a new warm-up routine I've been using: namely to trot and canter and establish more forward earlier (after just a couple of laps of forward free walk and connected medium walk), then doing a few "brake-checks" or really effective half halts, and finally going back to the walk to establish lateral flexion and obedience. After that, I can launch right into hard work without much of a problem.
Yeah, that's right. After 3 years of serious dressage work, my horse and I are finally settling on a warm up routine that seems to be working for us. We're obviously fast learners.
Tonight I'm debating whether or not to even ride. The temperature was -3 when I rolled out of bed this morning, and it's looking like it will only be in the mid teens by the time I would be getting tacked up tonight. Luckily the weekend looks warmer, but snowier. Cold vs. snow. The eternal winter dilemma!
|Double blanketing, or "a Pig in a blanket."|