Tuesday 4 August 2015

Long Weekend, Lessons, Plus Smashing and Water Fighting

I have been riding regularly but for a while there nothing noteworthy was happening, neither bad nor good. We were just being boring and doing our homework of getting B quicker off my aids and me more focused on keeping her straight and not letting her wiggle around and bend her neck to look inside/outside. Luckily, we can do that on the trail as well, so what could have been an incredibly boring couple of weeks between lessons was only moderately painful.

I got word we were having a baby jump lesson Monday night, so on Friday I got ambitious and trotted a few x's. That didn't go so well. It was hot and B was lazy and I was left hoping EC wasn't disturbed in her house by the sounds of crashing poles and falling standards - both the actual jump standards and my own riding ones, such as they are.
via google images

Yesterday was a provincial holiday, so that meant long weekend fun, and I took Saturday and Sunday off from riding and went with G to explore some new parks and hiking trails and just generally chill out.  

This little hidden bay is basically in my backyard. The water is so clear that I felt safe enough to swim without worrying about sharks/orcas/random sea creatures :) I think when we buy something here we'll try to stay close to this area - it's got a neat vacation-y vibe and is pretty friendly for hiking/biking too.  I like the protected little bays vs the open ocean. The actual moorage area is full of giant yachts, so I can't wait to pull out my little $20 inflatable boat and 'sail' around ;)

After that much needed R&R that turned into about a million hiking miles, it was time for the much anticipated riding lesson. It was really, really hot out and I'm pretty sure I was the sweatiest person ever about 5 minutes into our warm up. G came along, but quickly got distracted by having a water fight with EC's 8 year old son. Nice that he found someone his own age to play with ;)

Once again, we focused on straightness and consistency. EC was really happy with how much more responsive Bridget was to my aids, and we had some moments where things really felt like they came together, particularly in the trot. Life really is so much easier when your horse is forward and you have steering! After about 20 minutes of playing with the trot, EC set up about 4 grids of poles for us to trot through (2 sets of 4-5 poles on each of the long sides). Again, much emphasis on straightness, and I was to alternate going through the entire 'line' with leg yielding around every second grid. Surprisingly, that wasn't so hard. 

Next up, EC switched the spacing so the second grid on each side were canter poles. The idea being we trot through the first grid, ask for canter over the last pole and canter through the second grid. The girds were spaced about 4 Bridget canter strides apart and I admit to thinking there was no possible way I could get a transition in one stride, let alone a straight enough transition to hold a decent line through the second set. Bridget shocked me by totally stepping up and getting it done. EC is a smart woman - those poles were an excellent way for both pony and I to focus on where we needed to be and when, rather than our normal hit or miss or rush-y canter transitions. 

After that, we moved on to a shorter interval between the grids. (2 strides) Here it kind of fell apart a little. We were both tired, and the location of the grid was directly past the gate, right where B likes to sort of hestitate because gates are magnetic. We got it done after a few tries and called it a day. I was totally done - pony requires a lot of putting together and leg right now and it's a huge workout in the heat. I was surprised I lasted the entire hour, to be honest! While I was dying in the heat, G had managed to flood out the barn with his new buddy and we walked back into a full fledged barn water fight. Even Bridget didn't seem to mind getting caught in the crossfire and much fun was had by all.

Tired ears

Homework for next week:

- Keep focusing on straightness. Even on the trail, pick a point and ride to it. Don't let her weave her way there.

- Two point. Without my seat driving, particularly in the transitions, pony wants to quit. Need to get her more used to idea that she can still go forward!

-Leg yields. Continue with them, with focus on straight and accurate to whatever point I pick. Will help with canter straightness/leads. Ideally we want to have same lateral response in canter as we currently have in trot.

-Canter poles/ x's. Practice the exercises from this lesson. Anything smaller than her belly should just be ridden as canter strides - focus on positive, forward ride in and out and quality of canter.

-Jumper show mid Sept if ready, dressage show third week of Sept.



  1. Do you know how long it has been since I rode a full hour? With the exception of the horse shows....
    Like.... years lol.
    I am lucky if I ride a full 45-50 minutes! I am normally sopping with sweat or totally dead.
    Mind you, my old coach was big in intervals and it stuck. Short breaks and back into it. Enough to be needed, no more than enough.

  2. what a clever use of poles! and yay for the Midge mare showing off to EC that she can actually be forward and fun!

  3. That bay is beautiful! And HORSE SHOW! YAAAAAAY