Friday, May 23, 2014

Trotting is More Fun with Poles 2: Crossrail Boogaloo

Aaaaaaaaaugh I love my horse today, even though she is a Bad Witch on the ground and I always feel like I'm pretty close to getting a bite on the shoulder when I tighten her girth and she tries to kick me when I treat the (brand new) sweet itch on her belly. She can stay.

Old pics to break up wall of text!

Yesterday I just dumped a bunch of poles all around the ring and we trotted them. I probably only rode for 15-20 minutes because she was SO. GOOD. It was like, put poles in front of her and she goes, "OH! Now I get why you want me to be straight and not a turkey! Got it." She's actually easier to slow down when we trot over poles. Big pats, done for the day, especially since she's been ridden every day since Sunday.

Today's lesson was AWESOME. It started out on a good note, because there was a deer sleeping in the long grass next to the ring and we scared her walking buy, so she leapt up and sprung off into the woods. Lex went, "Huh?" and kinda took a couple sideways scoot steps, but then went back to walking on a loose rein, happy as a clam. I love love love that.

I used to ride her alone in a 40 acre field. Wut.

She's getting connected at the walk and trot more quickly, so today we worked on keeping her connected through the transition. This is going to be a work in progress. The way Mary said it was, "Right now she thinks she has to pull with her ears to trot, but she needs to lift her withers and push from behind." Lexi had a minor meltdown in the middle of the lesson, trotting right on a 10-15m circle. She just would NOT slow down, and I wasn't doing a good enough job of being bossy about it. I'll take responsibility for my part of it but Lex also needs to not flip me off when I use my aids correctly.

The CANTER today though, wow. The left lead was pretty good. Mary said she thought Lex was like, "I've been thinking about this!" and offered me a pretty soft canter early on. Mary reminded me to ride today's horse and not last week's horse and to let go at the canter more. Eyes on the ground, people. I can't say enough about the value in that. The magic happened in the right lead, where Lex was so balanced and soft that the canter had legit suspension. I couldn't stop grinning. That's a canter you can jump out of.

I thought we were gonna have another flatwork day, but then Mary knocked a couple verticals down to cross rails, probably 18", which is bigger than Lex has been asked to jump but I figured (correctly) that she wouldn't care. The goal was to get as many trot steps as possible on the way to the jump and make them slow, and it would be great if she trotted away. We did a good job getting there but rushed away a couple times. Mary had me think about landing in my feet and taking my leg OFF at the base. We can add leg at the base later, when she's more broke and the jumps are big enough that she couldn't walk over them. That made a huge difference, and the last jump we did she landed in a gorgeous quiet canter. On Mary's orders, I slowed her to a halt and then jumped off and made much of her. Lex really looked proud of herself. Mary: "Oh, this horse will be able to jump just fine."

This was her first jump, about a year ago.
She did say that the reason Lex sometimes taps the jump with her back toe is that she's not using her hind end to jump yet, either, so she's jumping pretty flat. That will get sorted out with time, just like the rest of it. Consistent good riding with Mary's help will get her where she needs to be.

Lexi gets the whole weekend off, because she got ridden six days in a row and Sunday I'm going to help Mary and her son at a schooling event. I can't wait!


  1. The more athletic bunch tend to not use their hind ends until they actually have to, same with the shoulder, blessing and a curse.

    1. True story. Gotta take the bitter with the sweet with a lot of quality horses.

  2. I love the "ride the horse you have today" comment!

    1. Mary has a good gift for words.

  3. So much fun!! The eyes on the ground are key to make a lot of progress in a hurry. :-)

    Love the new header, too!

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