Thursday 23 June 2016

Dare To Be Square

After Monday's adventures, I had a plan of schooling some squares with B in order to work again on the forward and back within the gaits. Diamonds or squares are one of my go to exercises because they are genius for keeping that drifting outside shoulder under wraps, and I also like that they allow the Midge to anticipate and see a reason why I am asking her to collect...for example when I ask her to slow and collect, it's because a stride or two later there is a good possibility I am going to turn her shoulders and if she's smart she will have listened to my request when I asked and her weight will already be back, freeing up the shoulders and making the turn easy for her. Since collecting is HARD for lazy little Midge and the square turns really force her to sit and use her inside hind, it's easy to get her thinking forward and straight as a reward on the sides of the square...and as anyone who's read this blog will know, forward and straight are very desirable things in general, but especially useful things for Midge to actually want to do. Here's a link to a handy 5 minute clinic series that explains better than I could about how to ride this exercise and the benefits of it.
Throwback Thursday pic to the girls last year (Thank you Thursday, for saving me from my terrible lack of media ;)

It's a great exercise because the pattern does the work for you, anytime they tune you out and run through the bridle or your outside aids, boom square corner, then ride straight out like nothing happened. I was also going to take away my stirrups, because, seriously, my heels have developed a life of their own lately.

Imagine my surprise when for our lesson tonight EC asked if we had ridden squares before. Since saying "Yes, I school them all the time and think we're actually kind of decent at them some days" or "Yes, in fact I am so miraculously on the ball I was going to school them this weekend" would have obviously meant much failure and increased scrutiny in our lesson, I shrugged and said "sometimes" figuring that was the safer answer ;)

So, I felt a little like I was cheating on a test as the walk and trot went quite 'surprisingly' well. Super well, actually. The Midge showed up to play! Canter, obviously more difficult since pony simply does not have the strength to really collect, sit and turn through multiple corners in a row, but there were lots of good moments and I was super proud of her. She was really correct and using herself well, so what more can we ask for? We're not too far from some consistently decent jumper turns, and dare I dream one day that our quarter turn will turn into a circle and become the beginnings of pirouette? Pony's reward was to be done early and watch our good friend Ginger mare and her lovely rider make some amazing progress with the same exercises. They are both doing so well, I feel very lucky to be able to watch them progress!


  1. Ha I love it when we can execute an exercise well for a trainer bc we have been practicing. Except it usually goes the opposite : "why yes we practice all the time!" Followed by imminent failure lol

  2. Ooooh I'm gonna have to snag this idea for my pony! Our flatwork is getting pretty boring lately. So great that you are figuring out what works for Miss B!

  3. I'm going to be trying this as well tonight!

  4. The squares exercise was really helpful with Suzie!