Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to Regular Riding!

So I went three whole days without riding. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I focused exclusively on homework, and I just barely managed to get it finished for Tuesday! (Yes, it was entirely my fault for putting off until that late in the first place.) Fortunately, I got to go back to actually riding on Tuesday. Thank goodness!

We did just simple dressage on Tuesday. He was surprisingly good; I really thought he'd act up more than he did, considering it was very windy and threatening to rain. He was a really good boy! We did lots of quality work in the walk especially. I did one of his least favorite exercises; where we turn in to the rail suddenly and his haunches follow my seat until he makes a 90 degree angle with the rail. Then, I ask for a few steps of leg yield. He's best going right (off the left leg), so I tried to do a bit more going left (off the right leg).

We also worked some more on our shoulder-in in both the walk and trot, and that's starting to get better. Funny how things do that when you actually work on them! He was also really responsive to my leg aids when I asked for lengthenings. We did a lot of work on the rail, since there were tons of lesson kids who were also using the arena and jumping a course!

Today, we did just a little bit of jumping. I was planning on riding for at least an hour, but we jumped everything that was set up out there at least 5 or so times, and completed the one really tight turn that was set up well several times, so I decided to cut it short. Oddly enough, he gave me two wrong leads on his walk-to-canters. I must have been doing something wrong; he usually never gives me wrong leads on those! Both times I just brought him back down to a walk, made sure his haunches weren't to the outside, and asked again, and he got it. Walk-to-canters really give him the impulsion and drive he needs for jumping, so we do a lot of them.

I've actually been schooling him over jumps in his elevator gag, but on the snaffle ring, so it's basically just a snaffle with no gag action. He's been great! In dressage, he goes in a fat, double-jointed snaffle. I'm glad we've been able to back off on his bits; it makes me worry much less about my hands! When I first got him, he was in a plain snaffle for dressage, then we moved up to a Dr. Bristol, then we just used the Dr. Bristol for shows and the snaffle for at home, and now we just use our double-jointed all the time. Progress! :)

We're supposed to have a XC schooling on Saturday followed by a one-day schooling show on Sunday, but I'm not sure it'll be held with all this rain we're having. If it gets too muddy, the footing can be dangerous for XC and the course can get really chewed up by the horses. Maybe they'll just make it a combined test? Fingers crossed, because we really need the schooling before nationals.

I also borrowed a meter wheel today so that I can wheel the perimeter and finally start working on figuring out our speeds- probably just 350 mpm to start with, since that's BN speed. I hope I can get out and do that tomorrow. I have to figure out what I'm going to mark the distances with, though!


  1. What's the BN speed? I know in dressage we figure out the bpm (beats/minute) to keep the right tempo, which is especially important when you get to extended and collected gaits. Though we're not there yet lol.....

    Greta has had consistent riding this summer... but I haven't had other obligations, so when this week-before-school came along she went for a few days without riding as well. She was so upset lol. I actually used the Absorbine liniment gel on her legs today after a lengthy (and I cut it off earlier than the other riders!) trail ride. Greta seemed to appreciate it.

    I can't wait until we get to that new arena so we can actually do some railwork and lateral work too!

  2. BN speed is 350 meters per minute. It's not a very fast speed; most horses should be able to just canter around the course and be going 350 mpm. Val can be shortstrided, though, and it's good to get a feel of how fast you're going.

    Isn't trail riding fun? :)

    I love doing lateral work along the rails! They're so helpful. There are some things we don't use the rails for, like our leg yields in the trot, simply because he can't go /that/ sideways in the trot comfortabley.