Ride Journal: Nov 23-29

Wow What A Week!!

Nov 23:
Partners in crime...
We rode in the arena for this ride. I remembered that I wanted to work harder on suppleness in the traver, so I kept that aim high in my mind. We did a lot of lateral work, shoulder-in and traver. Pig was super good. He was half halting right into my hand. All it would take to collect more was tighten my abs and think "put those hind legs UNDER." Boom. He was there. We rode for only 35 minutes, and he was a dream.

While doing some last minute grooming; blanketing; and apple feeding, my phone rang. I had interviewed that morning, and was being offered a full-time job! Success!!
Such excite!
Nov 25:

A friend and I went for a medium length trot/canter conditioning ride through the surrounding hills and fields. We were gone for approximately an hour and spent 1/3 of the time at the walk, 1/2 of the time at the trot, and 1/6 of the time at the canter.

We practiced cantering very, very collected -- trying to match our warmblood friend's big canter. And we practiced trotting extended and connected for a long time. Pig really got into the extended trot. It was hard to hold him together. He would get a little disengaged and his tempo would break down. It almost felt like he was pacing. A solid half halt put him back into a good tempo, and we would try again. I think it helped him figure out his extensions and half halts a bit better.

Afterwards, both horses were drenched in sweat. We used our fancy new barn to the fullest. Pig received a warm water bath and enjoyed hanging out under the heat lamps for a bit. However, it was 60 degrees, so he ended up getting turned out while still fairly wet.
Don't lie. You're jealous of our warm water and lamps... I also won't lie. I had forgotten this was an option and considered just giving Pig a cold bath with the regular hose, like we would have at our old barn!
Nov 27: 
So much fun...
I started this ride outside with some brisk trots and quiet canter/gallops. It felt like the right way to celebrate the beautiful weather and holiday weekend. Pig must have felt great after his conditioning ride and the quick and fast warm up. When we hit the ring, he was 100% ready to work. We did a lot of changes of direction to get him listening to my half halts and my weight.

When we were seamlessly changing direction, I moved on to 20 m circles at the canter. I wanted him to sit and engage more, while keeping bend. Once we were dancing the line between loose engagement and tense trying, I took him off the circle to do half pass and a single flying change. I repeated the exercise in the other direction. This was a hugely successful exercise. I started on Pig's difficult direction, and it was nice to end on the good direction and with clean and prompt changes.
It was nice to have a photographer/videographer for the day, too!
Nov 28:

This ride is when Pig was starting to feel the week's exertions, I think. He felt a little stiff and a little reluctant in the contact. I was stiff in the hips, too. That didn't help. I kept things light and easy, trying to remember to stay dispassionate in my training.

We did a lot of stretches, shoulder-in to the tough direction, and changes of direction. I asked for simple change canter figure eights, which may have been too much. I tried not to nitpick them too much, and quit when we had a decent one.

Nov 29:

Another iffy ride. Pig was again very stiff, only this time I could not establish a consistent half halt. He felt very tight behind, and kept leaving a hind leg in the trot and canter. I had to nag his arthritic back right a lot to get it to keep up.

All was not lost, however. I did a lot of experimenting in this ride. I tried to really notice where Pig was putting his haunches in each direction. In the walk and trot to the right, he wanted to push his haunches in. When I would then ask him to bend that direction, he would throw a fit. He was blocking himself with his own shape. When I pushed his haunches out, he was freed up to be able to step forward and bend. His frustration would vanish, though he did not want to push his haunches out.

Cantering to the left, I had to take care that his haunches did not curl in. That would cause him to lean and destroyed our ability to half halt. My right leg was too strong in the left lead canter, and I needed more left leg to keep the bend appropriately.
I give you: The View from the Back of the Red Dragon
A lot of these issues were probably due to my imbalance in the saddle-- not weighting my right seatbone enough when going left and not weighting my right leg enough when going right. Obviously it is time for me to get back to yoga bootcamp again...


  1. That field gallop picture=amazeballs. I want one.

  2. Congrats on the job offer!! (And on what sounds like a lot of good rides!)

  3. yes. i am jealous of your warm water and heat lamps ;)

  4. Love the November 27th field pic! So pretty! :) Pretty new to your blog, but already stealing the riding journal idea! Love it - am hoping it'll keep my rides more focused.

  5. I am very jealous of the warm water and heat lamps! And your fields for riding. The red dragon I already have. :)

  6. Congrats on the job girl!
    I am super stoked for you - also i am loving your ride journals. So much good advice and reminders to really pay attention to what my body is doing and what mixed messages it may be sending my poor horses!


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