Tuesday 19 January 2016

Trainer Ride/App Info

A couple of you were interested in the app I'm using to mark my miles. As far as the actual distance measurements, I'm just using a running app on my phone that uses GPS to measure pace and distance. Since my phone data is not unlimited/free, I measured an average ride for an hour and measured a dressage lesson for an hour and have been using those as a base. I'm planning to actually measure one or two rides a week and estimate the rest based on those. For the mapping app, go to ArcGIS Online and set yourself up with a free account! Don't worry if you don't have actual mapping data or layers, there's a bunch of free stuff on there if you want to make maps, or if you're like me and just want a simple app with pictures, you can make a story map. For a story map, there's a bunch of free templates (or you can build your own) and all you need is some photos and a general idea of where you'd like to reference them on the provided base map. It's super easy - if you can build a blog this will be a piece of cake!
Love how shiny Bridget is, even clipped!

And, on to horses...
Bridget had her trainer ride yesterday and it was worth every penny! So worth it, in fact, I'm contemplating making room in the budget or working off a trainer ride once every couple of weeks or so. Midge tried all the tricks with her, and I was shown how to work through each. It's so helpful to be able to see your horse go! The good news is, Midge looks a million times better than the last time I saw her. The bad news? Still lots of work to go!
Take homes:
-Pick the fight about not running through the bridle the moment I get on, if necessary. No extended long/low warm up, she's schooled enough to warm up politely in a relaxed working frame.

-When I pick up even a little contact, her default is to lean/run through it. When you correct that, she gets wiggly and behind the bit. Insist she moves out on a polite medium walk even in warm up.

-I can fix a lot of the trot/canter problems in that walk. Once warmed up, transition within the walk, collect the walk and insist she stays honest in the bridle. Walk pirouettes, haunches in, shoulder in, spirals, test all the buttons before moving to trot. (Note here: B offered up a fabulous, adjustable trot after picking the fights in walk - I am definitely following this advice, rather than my current method is moving forward to trot/canter to get the naughtiness out!)

- As per above the trot work was really, really nice so she didn't do a ton of it.

- Canter/trot transitions. Great to the right, sticky to the left. Trainer tapped Midge with the whip and was given a huge (for a midget pony) buck and bolt. Silly mare, but the transitions were pretty immediate after that!

-Walk/canter transitions. Went pretty well, it's all about keeping the bend and having a nice round walk.

- Left canter in particular pretty unbalanced. Transition is a little trickier to set up this direction, and balance gets progressively worse as you make your circle. Lots of transitions needed to help her understand/build strength. On a 20m circle, transition to trot for a few strides when she starts to feel unbalanced, then back to canter. Goal, eventually 1-2 trot strides, then canter. Eventually just think transition (but don't) - have her balance off a half halt.

-Canter has improved a lot in the past 3 months, it's just the trot work has improved way more so the canter feels not so great in comparison.

All in all, lots of good feedback and I feel really encouraged - I could see a ton of progress since the last trainer ride. Particularly in walk/trot, the moments of "so fancy - is that even my pony?!" have morphed into minutes. The canter has moments now too, so I have hope those moments can become minutes eventually as well!



  1. Hahaha love the buck n' bolt response. Even better when you get to watch it happen to someone else!

  2. So exciting that Bridget is making such great progress!

  3. yay sounds like a great ride w very doable homework. go Bridget Go!!

  4. This still sounds so much like Katai! After a couple of trainer rides I also learned that it was better to pick the fight at the walk and get everything good there before moving on to the trot.

  5. I love watching my horses look fancy under saddle! Sounds like you have lots of good "homework" to chip away at ;) Thanks for sharing the app info!