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#21 JacqueB

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 12:57 PM

Starting to get somewhere!
Saturday Majiida did some really good work in the riding ring. Dropped that head down and was really swinging her back end with what felt like big overreach striding with her back legs - I was thrilled.
And Bowie is getting quite light to the leg, I even got some relaxation in my ankles riding him. Bless his heart I've got him in a small dry paddock, he gains weight eating air - so he was so "hot to trot".
All our leg yielding work is getting his shoulder really loose he even walks different while loose in the paddock.
Looks like the weather won't allow riding again til Wednesday - below 0 windchill factor.
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#22 VanAlma

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 03:26 PM

You are more brave than I. I haven't ridden in over a week - partially due to working during the day. I just don't have the gusto to ride at 4PM when it's already close to dark :( Only 2 more weeks and we'll be on the upswing for longer days! Thanks for the note on progress. Glad they are doing well. It's a nice feeling, isn't it?

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#23 JacqueB

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:35 PM

I just don't have the gusto to ride at 4PM when it's already close to dark Glad they are doing well. It's a nice feeling, isn't it?

The round pen is close to where she's pastured, so we start there & yesterday was just after 4 again & she had that head way up in the air & threatening all kinds of whoknowswhat. But I had this great example one time of how to handle a horse getting ready to explode. We had just arrived after a 7 hr drive at the Kentucky Horse park in October for the Midsouth Team Trials & this really great rider/really steady over cross country fences, she tacked up her big Secretariat grandson who was sick & tired of confinement on that horse trailer & ready to do whoknowswhat and she just sat on him quietly intermittently giving quiet leg & barely or no contact with his mouth and eventually he went forward in control. So that's what I did with Majiida, very quiet with weight in my seat & thighs and have almost no contact with her mouth & intermittent leg and finally she just decides there's really nothing to get upset about & a couple figure 8's & we're on the road up to the riding ring. Another reinforcing experience I had was "horseplaying with my nephews, when on my hands & knees & they are "riding" me I feel much more secure when they sit on me stable/steady, dead center, gives a feeling of security - I imagine a horse feels better about that "steady, secure/dead center weight", too.
Yes, you're right Kate, it is a nice feeling that my improved effectiveness is making a difference for them, they've got to be happy about that, too.
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#24 VanAlma

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 08:07 PM

I'll preface this post with stating my cat thinks my lap is HER lap and typing has been made intersting to say the least...
Something that I did today would be great for any horse, but escpecially for a fat-ole' broody, is I rode throug my neighbor's field that has been farmed for soy beans. He has turned it over and I rode Bubba through it for about 45 minutes or so. I really need to time my rides - I'm SO not good at that. Anyway, it was such anice day that I had to get him out and it was a good workout, mostly walking with some trotting and cantering, but being deep I didn't want to do too much. It is excellent for the muscle burn that gets such detail and strength into a horse with not much more than walking on a loose rein and enjoying the sun.

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#25 JacqueB

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 12:22 PM

Just read on the national weather service page that this region is working on setting the record for coldest average temperatures for the month December - HA! NOAA was predicting in Nov that December was going to be warmer than average. Now they've totally reworked their predictions for Jan & Feb, saying that Jan will be more precipitation than normal & equal chance on temperature. Average high in Jan is 45, if we could just get above 35 without 20 mph & snow/slush on the ground maybe I could get some riding in - might get lucky next week- suppose to hit 40's-need a day or 2 of that so that it's not icy getting to the riding ring & the snow is gone from the ring. The road is almost good enough to ride on.
Quite the set back in conditioning.....
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#26 JacqueB

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 09:59 PM

Hallelujah!The temperature got up to an "average" January temperature & enough snow & ice was gone that we could safely navigate walking around the farm. It's been almost 4 weeks since Bowie or Majiida were ridden. Turns out December was in the running for record setting average highs being the lowest in recorded history - the 20's!
So today Bowie had a trail ride & some work in the riding ring. The good news I've kept up ~ 5 out of 7 days doing my Tai Chi warm up exercises, so I was really nice & strong for correcting Bowie's onesidedness effectively. And he started remembering correct bend & leg yielding exercises even at a trot - Good Boy! Majiida went for a bit more than a 2 mile ride & she's not feeling nearly the bowl full of jelly & really stretched out her neck with ears pricked forward & even swinging her back end quite a bit - almost no contact with her mouth - I think she really enjoyed it. So it back to work for Majiida & Bowie -today, & Monday - Tuesday off then Wednesday & Thursday, Friday off then Saturday & Sunday - looks like we're going to have average temperatures without precipitation for the next week! YEAH
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#27 JacqueB

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 02:52 AM

Well, I think I'm going to ride Majiida again Tuesday. It didn't really get up to 40 today albeit the sun shone. We walked the 1/2 mi hill to the riding ring & she does good work at a walk, gets the correct bend easily in the corners & serpentines and demonstrated nice even rhythm most of the time with the head stretched out & swinging her back end with the good overreach from behind. I did get her to trot the entire small dressage arena, but despite my light contact, with little encouragements with the inside rein & really using my abs while keeping my lower back relaxed rounding back & down that head didn't really drop down at the trot, just don't think she's got enough muscle tone/strength. She didn't even break a sweat, so I'm thinking we good for a nice mostly walking trail ride tomorrow, we've got plenty of hills. She enjoyed her trail ride Sunday, but that was with a buddy, tomorrow it will be just the 2 of us, she's good with that usually.
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#28 JacqueB

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 08:00 PM

I also dont like round pen work. Too much stress for legs especially in young/unconditioned horses, easy to injure. Especially if the surface is not perfect.

For the trail ride, 1 mile is really nothing (enough for warm up and cool down in walk if you dont work hard). Maybe for the first several lessons under saddle for a young horse. You can do 3-5 miles (or 1 to 1 and half hour) right from the beginning, mostly walk, a bit of trot. 5-10 miles later, I dont think there is much reason to do more when conditioning for dressage. I dont avoid slow canter on the trail, if the horse offers it itself. Once they get balance under saddle, they usually offer it. I dont work in canter in „riding place“ (sorry dont know the right english word here, I hope you understand) with young unconditioned horse for the first few months.

I would say this: right now, you need to condition your horse and she needs to find a balance under saddle. I would do more trail work and some work in "riding place" now. Later, you need to prepare for your dressage test, so you do much more work in "riding place" and a little bit of trail riding to relax.

Mar, I think you're suggestions here are working out best for Majiida & I. We might have gotten 3 miles in of trail riding this morning - it was her first longer trail ride by herself, had one unexpected turn on the haunches with some air time, but she gave me plenty of snorting & heads up action before that episode. It was about 35 degrees out & no sun in the morning & she was hardly warm & absolutely no suggestion of sweating as I was untacking her. So I think I'm being pretty easy on her. Friday's bad riding weather & Saturday it doesn't get above freezing-so her 2 days off. So I'm considering riding her that same trail ride tomorrow afternoon & some ring work on Thursday with cavelettis, working on that tummy & stretch over the top line at a walk, maybe see what happens when I ask her to trot again.
Thanks Mar
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#29 JacqueB

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 12:00 PM

Well, it was 4 days in a row of riding for Majiida on Wednesday. We did our 2 mile trail ride circuit & the little fallen down tree that got alot of snorting & finally a sudden turn on the haunches, only merited one snort yesterday. Near the end of the ride I got her to trot in the riding ring a good 3 times in the small dressage arena in each direction - that was quite different for her. At the end of the ride there was no hint of sweat or real muscle heat, the ambient temperature was just above freezing. So I have a hard time believing that I'm pushing her too much. I'm going to ride her again today, since she'll probably have 3 days off then 1 day riding then 1 or 2 days off then it looks like we can ride maybe 3-4 days in a row again.
Think I'll do the warm-up ride to the ring, then work on flexibility, spiraling in & out and serpentines & try to keep that back end swinging with good rhythm, then do the 2 mile trail ride circuit, no trot work.
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#30 JacqueB

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 12:14 AM

Well it was a heat wave today - got all the way up to 40, partly sunny, too. Did just what I planned to do on Majiida's 5 consecutive day of riding. Took her up in the ring & did all walking activity, serpentines, spiriling in & out & just big swinging walk. Then off for a trail ride on the 2 miles circuit. Again it was a good 55-60 minutes of riding & this time she did have a bit of dampness under the girth strap. I did a good looking over of her today as I was grooming & she used to be flabby around her back end last summer. She's solid muscle now. Also repeated the fingertip pressure 7 cm on each side of her mid sacrum & she's bring her back up much better than early fall. I think she's even showing some muscle development over her loin. So I'm thinking that in 2-3 days, whenever the weather allows, she's going to be ready for more trot work. She's light as a feather to move around, I think a 2 yo could do it if you showed them what to do - love that aspect of riding her.
Edited to add.
One advantage of 5 consecutive days was the tacking up. I'm a stickler for no movement in the crossties while I'm busy with the horse. Today she didn't move a muscle as I was walking toward her with her saddle pad & her saddle, putting it on her & during the girth tightening. YEAH!
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#31 VanAlma

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 06:04 PM

Yeah! So much progress! I wish I have ridden as much as you. I average twice a week but I need to step it up now that the holidays are over. At times I take Bubba on walks that are probably in the 3-5 mile range, do some trotting and cantering, but mostly just let him drop his head and walk around and "smell the roses"...or cows, really. Trail riding is an enjoyable way to get their body working again even if they don't break a sweat. To be honest, when it is cold or I ride in the PM and it is soon going to get chilly, I don't want them sweaty. Moist, maybe, but would rather not with cold weather as mine are out 24/7.
Also, in regards to training, if you study it, "cross-training" is common for high level athletes, making them do things they don't need for their sport to keep their body in the best condition possible. The same applies to horses. Ring or "technical" riding not only gets boring and monotonous (spelling?) but lacks some physical aspects that trail riding or even jumping has.
Keep the updates coming :laughing1:

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#32 JacqueB

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 12:58 PM

Thanks for your encouragement Kate.
Think I'm going to get the caveletties out like Anita suggested for next week. We've got some days coming next week that are about freezing but likely to have some sun, I'm good with that - better than above 75 actually.
My plan will be to walk up to the ring, do the walking spiraling in & out & serpentines then trot work. One exercise I did with Bowie that was very effective was trotting him down the long side then transitioning down to a walk & making sure we got the correct bend thru the next 2 corners then trotting down the long side & repeat. Then when that's working getting him to trot thru the corners, helped him stay with the correct bend thru the corner at the trot & of course transitioning up & down gets them to use those muscles that strengthen the top line/abs. Then we'll do a trail ride to cool back down & relax.
The caveletties placed on the long side should be good a challenge for them, too.
As an aside, Bowie & I have been so late feeding the upper pastures we've riding along the ridge coming back with dark orange skies & one time last week Orion was coming up over McFalls mountain - precious memories, how fortunate am I.
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#33 hansi

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 06:10 PM

Thanks for your encouragement Kate.
Think I'm going to get the caveletties out like Anita suggested for next week. We've got some days coming next week that are about freezing but likely to have some sun, I'm good with that - better than above 75 actually.
My plan will be to walk up to the ring, do the walking spiraling in & out & serpentines then trot work. One exercise I did with Bowie that was very effective was trotting him down the long side then transitioning down to a walk & making sure we got the correct bend thru the next 2 corners then trotting down the long side & repeat. Then when that's working getting him to trot thru the corners, helped him stay with the correct bend thru the corner at the trot & of course transitioning up & down gets them to use those muscles that strengthen the top line/abs. Then we'll do a trail ride to cool back down & relax.
The caveletties placed on the long side should be good a challenge for them, too.
As an aside, Bowie & I have been so late feeding the upper pastures we've riding along the ridge coming back with dark orange skies & one time last week Orion was coming up over McFalls mountain - precious memories, how fortunate am I.



I am so glad you feel you are riding correctly through the corners, a must, as many of us know.
Please explain to our readers the exact AIDS, YOU GIVE TO accomplish it.

Also what is a "SPireling" please? What diameters do you employ for the serpentines?

looks if you really enjoy what you are doing and making headway.

Take care
hansi
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#34 JacqueB

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 07:50 PM

I am so glad you feel you are riding correctly through the corners, a must, as many of us know.
Please explain to our readers the exact AIDS, YOU GIVE TO accomplish it.
Well, it's complicated, isn't it. Where to start. Since the horse is a 2 track system I replicate with my body what the horse has to do. I slow the inside of my body (the inside of the horse has to take smaller steps on a curve) - going counter clockwise that would be my left side - & stretch down with that heel/leg, it kind of moves a bit forward & let my weight in my hips move to the left/inside hip + very important-keeping the lower back moving back & down while I move my left/inside shoulder back-key. I start activating my outside hip, swinging it-might even need to be exaggerated- going back & down (I often use the image that my hips are a big beach ball & to keep it in the saddle it has to roll back & down, always getting back balanced with weight into the saddle) just like the right/outside of the horse has to take bigger steps since it's on the outside of the track. My heel is stretched down & goes maybe slightly back & my right outside shoulder falls a bit forward. I use Charles de Knuffy's image of the chest being a box with the chest open & my hands are even & I work at keeping them at the withers with elbows relaxed, I'm a thumbs up, holding the wineglass stem rider. I shouldn't have to use my inside leg to remind the horse to bend, just the weight in the left hip should do the job. But in the initial training it can take little gentle pulls on the left rein & using your lower leg to "move them around your leg". Or with something pretty dull - like Bowie, my Norwegian Fjord, it took tapping with the whip behind my leg & insisting with my inside rein in a dramatic fashion before I got his attention, of course, now he's pretty light & responsive to changes in my hips & I can even keep my ankles relaxed.

Also what is a "SPireling" please?
I use 1/2 of the small dressage arena for my initial circle & a just continue to ride in circles that get smaller & small til I'm at the center of the circle & then I keep widening the circles til I'm at the initial/big circle size. The horses, of course, always want to flatten one or two arcs & speed up in the arc that nearest the exit gate. And I find they really get the point of the correct bend - straight on the arc- it's alot of practice on what aids at what point in the circle work best & for strongsidedness, it works on that very well. Bowie did the best he's ever done the other day. It was after I had already ridden Majiida & I was very focused & practiced. I felt like I was controlling his every step, first time I've ever had that experience.

What diameters do you employ for the serpentines?
You know Hansi, I'm not too precise about that. I have the small dressage arena & I think I get 5 crossings?


looks if you really enjoy what you are doing and making headway.

Take care
hansi

Edited to add.
I got to thinking about it and my guess is if we videoed me in a corner my hands wouldn't be even because my inside shoulder is back bringing that hand back & my outside shoulder would be falling forward letting that hand move toward the mane. I just don't actively bring my elbow back to pull on the rein.
The other thing I was thinking of is bringing "weight" back into the saddle. I try to be light in the saddle, so a better word would be gravity because I try to keep my center of gravity low - in my hips & thighs.
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#35 hansi

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:20 PM

Edited to add.
I got to thinking about it and my guess is if we videoed me in a corner my hands wouldn't be even because my inside shoulder is back bringing that hand back & my outside shoulder would be falling forward letting that hand move toward the mane. I just don't actively bring my elbow back to pull on the rein.
The other thing I was thinking of is bringing "weight" back into the saddle. I try to be light in the saddle, so a better word would be gravity because I try to keep my center of gravity low - in my hips & thighs.



thanks JacqueB, I think you explained it well, and I tried to follow it.
I think you most likely are doing it correctly.

In shorter words/explanations, this is how I do.

One horse length before the turn to the shorter or longer wall, I half-halt on the outside rein, that puts attention on the outside hindleg. I have my inside leg a bit behind the girth and my outside leg aainst the girth. My inside shoulder is a bit foward
and this way I actually push the horse into the opposite direction so to speak, but make sure I can see the inside eye of the horse. Once the corner is executed I proceed with a normal form, sitting straight in the saddle.

It is always those "Half-Halts" on the outside rein, which must ALWAYS be deadon with no give which will reduce speed, etc.while the inside rein talks to the horse'mouth, as always. Talking to a horse's mouth means, you have gentle but firm contact with the inside rein, but open and close your little fingers, like playing a banjo with your finges. that activates the nerves in the mouth and with it the caliber glands.

To spiral, as you explain it, can be dangerous with a young horse, as too much stress is put on the "hocks". I only do that on the lunge line with a well schooled horse to activate the hocks even more.

Serpentines, you are right, you can chose making any number./ with a young horse 3 would suffice in an arena about 40 meters long (about 132 feet).Using half the width sounds good. young horses, may be first at the walk, eh.

I think you are doing great, may be someday
we meet and I can watch. All sounds real good.

Take care and good riding
Hansi
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#36 JacqueB

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:37 PM

thanks JacqueB, I think you explained it well, and I tried to follow it.
I think you most likely are doing it correctly.

In shorter words/explanations, this is how I do.

One horse length before the turn to the shorter or longer wall, I half-halt on the outside rein, that puts attention on the outside hindleg. I have my inside leg a bit behind the girth and my outside leg aainst the girth. My inside shoulder is a bit foward
Whenever I'm riding, whatever shoulder falls forward, that sides' hip gets lifted out of the saddle & since the horse moves away from pressure in the saddle side, the horse moves towards the lack of pressure, therefore, the horse bends out to the side that my shoulder falls forward. So going around the corner my outside shoulder would fall forward allowing the horse to bend to the outside & my outside leg moves slightly back & my outside rein holds steady to keep the horse from falling out to the outside.
and this way I actually push the horse into the opposite direction so to speak, but make sure I can see the inside eye of the horse. Once the corner is executed I proceed with a normal form, sitting straight in the saddle.

It is always those "Half-Halts" on the outside rein, which must ALWAYS be deadon with no give which will reduce speed, etc.while the inside rein talks to the horse'mouth, as always. Talking to a horse's mouth means, you have gentle but firm contact with the inside rein, but open and close your little fingers, like playing a banjo with your finges. that activates the nerves in the mouth and with it the caliber glands.
I'll have to remember that "playing banjo" image. One of my dressage instructors(grand prix winner, R judge & in her early days competed in the Rolex-eventing), she really zoomed in on my hands and her instructions where to start with the squeezes like you described (playing banjo) & if that didn't get you what you want, bend your wrist & if that didn't get you what you want pull your elbow back. Bowie took some pretty good elbow "yanks" with the whip taps behind my leg before I got his attention.

To spiral, as you explain it, can be dangerous with a young horse, as too much stress is put on the "hocks". I only do that on the lunge line with a well schooled horse to activate the hocks even more.

Serpentines, you are right, you can chose making any number./ with a young horse 3 would suffice in an arena about 40 meters long (about 132 feet).Using half the width sounds good. young horses, may be first at the walk, eh.

I think you are doing great, may be someday
we meet and I can watch.
Maybe I'll get someone to do videos once a month & see how the horse & I progress. Videos are always so disheartening - there is always so much to fix!
All sounds real good.

Take care and good riding
Hansi

Thanks for your encouragement Hansi
JacqueB

#37 hansi

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 06:21 PM

Thanks for your encouragement Hansi



your are welcome. I always get so happy when I see some-one like you trying and working so hard. As you know, the basics of training/dressur are very simple and logical.
the horse has to learn to balance under the rider. Diagonal- you can feel how far they got ahad, and at the start do it like a drunken sailor, not having a wall for support.

Von Neidorf has a video out- I think also in English. you might consider getting it, it is truly outstanding and educating.

One thing is for sure, one needs a "coach" because even at the spanish every month they longe each other off to maintain good posture. But other sports have coaches, Equine does not, or very little, or private like I had for many years.And that is very expensive.

I loved starting young horses, and once they got the basics it was easy to further them.
Knowing at least 5 of the 7 systems a horse has is really a MUST.

Take cae and good riding

Hansi
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#38 JacqueB

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 12:05 AM

Well, Majiida got ridden 5 days in a row then 8 days off due to the weather thru Friday - that's better than the last time which was about 4 weeks. Saturday roped my husband into trail riding Bowie & I rode Majiida & we got at least a 3 mi trail ride in which was great, both horses were well behaved & a pleasure. And today the 12 yo came over & rode Bowie & then my client who comes out most weekends, weather permitting, was here to ride her horse. So it was a big trail ride of 3! Got some up hill trotting in & some other gradual incline trotting + Majiida's profile today was not that of the loch ness monster like it was yesterday getting more benefit from the work. Tromped thru the woods some, we rode a pretty long time around the farm, maybe 4 miles. Majiida's head is coming down much better & she was light to move side to side with the correct bend. Might get some work in tomorrow maybe not. But Wed & Thursday definite work days, probably get back into some ring work. She enjoys the trail rides much more with company, but safe enough by herself. My client's horse was pretty wet under his girth strap & saddle. Bowie & Majiida were barely damp, so I think I've been successful getting some conditioning on her, therefore, I'm not going to feel bad about more demanding trot work in the riding ring. Time for her to start picking up that back/using her abs - lots of transitions. I got a short stretch outside the ring which is kinda steep, I like to take the horses out there & trot up/walk down with 4 or 5 repetitions. She's been easy to get rhythmic while walking & the correct bend. Her mutton withers I think makes building over the top line an area that she's going to need lots of conditioning/work. So I'm going to focus on work that is more demanding in that area.
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#39 VanAlma

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:23 AM

:) You made me chuckle about being the Lochness Monster. Bubba turns into one of those on cool days LIKE TODAY. He can go from 10 feet long to 10 inches long in a matter of milliseconds. It's something I'm working on with him. He's a bit of a hothead in cold weather. We're learning how to be mindful despite the wind and my annoying dog running in and out of the woods and being a Barky McBarkface.
Sounds like she is ready to get some sweating done. No more moist, unless it's cold as you don't want to cause tying up or risk illness and I do understand how this time of year does not lend itself well to that kind of conditioning if you don't have an indoor or stalls or whatever. Years of riding Arabians as well as other breeds has taught me Arabs come along quickly and can handle physical work quicker and harder than others. Growing up I wouldn't think twice about taking a horse out after a long winter and riding for 2-3 hours through the woods and hills. Never had an issue with any of my Arabs doing that - even the poorly conformed ones or ones that didn't have a lot of muscling after the winter.
Git Er Dun! Let us know how it goes :pete:

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#40 JacqueB

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 03:26 AM

OMG, I think the work has really begun. The 12 yo rode Bowie & I rode Majiida today. We did ring work after about 2 mi. of riding. We worked on the repeating short spurts of trotting uphill, too. It took the 3rd trotting sprint before Majiida performed an easy balanced rhythm. In the ring after establishing rhythmic walking with nice correct bends for serpentines & around corners we tried trotting-whole different matter. Not balanced or rhythmic yet & correct bends aren't easy. Gonna take alot of core strength/stability on my part with good timing to give/reward at the right times. Gonna have to review my books to find out what exercises can help us get it done efficiently & happily - particularly happily. Did get nice trot work out of her going up to the upper pastures, that's a gradual ascent, after we did ring work. She came back happy, loves to touch her nose to me when I land on the ground. Ambient temperature was near freezing, so we didn't have any real dampness despite the extra trotting we did.
Snow falling now, but still hoping to get to ride on Wed & Thursday. Have to get back with you after reading what I think might be good ring exercises for us. Definitely got to keep up the trot work out on the trail, especially the hills. Maybe we'll have some thrilling break throughs as we continue our training, but right now I feel really far away from a dressage test - May the earliest - don't want to embarrass myself. Maybe when we are schooling our canter work, I'll do an intro walk-trot test just so we get the atmosphere of the test under our belt - I won't go unless I think we can get a 65 tho'.
JacqueB



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