Merry Late Christmas

Oh hey. It’s been a month since I last did a post; where did my month go too? I am a terrible, shameful blogger who is still getting hits even after I haven’t posted in over a month! Alright my loyal viewers, I am sure you want some sort of update on the exciting turn of events that are going to commence.

Val and I are currently back home at Applewood for the winter holidays and have been enjoying our stay. I have gotten two lessons since I have been home, one very productive and the other not so much. The productive one I actually took notes on but never wrote the intended blog post – go figure. I am the best procrastinater you will ever meet. If procrastination was a sport I would be at the Olympic level. For all of you to see that I am not a total shmuck though I will include the bullet point list on here. Maybe you will take an idea away – maybe not?

  • Make sure to ride changes in frame more. Don’t be afraid to take him a little lower/deeper/rounder in the connection to make him loosen at the area right in front of the withers. When in canter make sure he keeps jumping through with little tap of the whip to activate hind leg.
  • No more tempis on diagonal – ride changes on straight lines and really make sure he is connected in the neck so he doesn’t come above bit through the change itself
  • When changes go to hell go back to simple changes to re-establish the “woah” aid and the speed control aspect; get’s too rushed and then either runs away above bit or stops when panicked
  • When he gets running away feeling in any gait do a halt or walk transition, reestablish contact with both sides of his body; maybe even throw in a reinback for good measure
  • Rushed in right rein trot – same rhythm and same trot in both directions
  • Not swinging through the changes as badly as he feels (this is a plus!)
  • Work on getting him to step higher and together in walk. Piaffe feel building him towards the hands in front so he lowers and becomes less croup high. Poll highest point but soft and supple. More uphill and connected in walk = better transition up to trot.
  • Don’t stay in bad walk. Get moving out of it if feeling crappy.
  • Best compliment EVER by trainer: You are finally sitting like you are supposed to – you are sitting into the horse and into the saddle rather than on top if it. SUCCESSSSSSS!
  • 10 meter circles in trot are your friend – do more of them!
  • Ride a little half-pass in the canter to help push into right rein a little more.
  • Coming out of corner in trot and onto diagonal feel a moment of leg yielding into new outside to really maintain straightness through the body
  • transitions transitions transitions! with more throughness in the neck so that the body itself is rounder.
  • More bend through ribs in the shoulder-in by activating the outside hind to really step under. Catch it with the outside leg and rein creating a wall so he doesn’t fall out and brush against the track. Don’t think neck in – make him bend through his ribs and his body more
  • Passage half-pass good idea to improve rhythm and cadence through the normal trot half-pass. SPEED CONTROL. Be able to work on forward and back while in movements all the time
  • Canter pirouette collection is good
  • First stride in the canter pirouette needs to be more in place. Val still swing too much to the side in the first stride and then falls off the line a little too much; 2-4 strides are much better
  • Count the half pirouette strides
  • Don’t be afraid to ride him a little deep in the neck into the canter pirouette or counter flex him to maintain connection with the outside rein so he can turn
  • More inside leg in turn for activity but manage energy through outside rein
  • If first half of pirouette stinks go ahead for the second half of it and keep going – not a problem
  • Don’t get after him too much in the left pirouette, can make it a little bit bigger so he stays more active and does not get stuck and panicking which results in the swapping leads mess
  • Be quicker with the corrections and get a result quicker so there is more “gi ve” time
  • The better the self carriage comes the easier everything will be
  • Don’t always have to ride for the huge gaits right now – better to stick on improving the basics and alternating between ‘show’ and ‘working’ frame right now
  • Sit very quiet in the pirouette – so sensitive – and wait for the right moment to apply the ‘out’ aid
  • Ride forward to the flying change at C

Biggest thing I got out of that lesson was our new exercise, which we did in the following lesson two days later. Ride square with the quarter pirouettes on the end of every line – somewhere in the middle of the arena. Will improve speed control as well as adjustability of the pirouette turn itself. That way it is not always a “half” or “full” feeling but I really can start to ride every single stride and monitor them better. For kicks throw in pirouettes when crossing the center-line and such.

For my Christmas Eve lesson it was one of those nothing-feels-right rides. We worked on the canter pirouettes and did the canter half-pass zig-zag from the Intermediare but it all still felt pretty crappy. The best moment in the entire lesson riding wise had to be the passage half-passes which were phenomenal the very first time! He is getting so much more fluid and they are becoming much easier to regulate the tempo and the ‘play’ in his carriage and way of going while in the movement itself. I was just in a funk and felt just an overall sense of “blah” from the ride even though nothing really went wrong. Oh well, sometimes we have those rides! My day was made better by a big Christmas hug from my amazing trainer. I am going to miss him so much! Thankfully, I do get to see him at least once more before I leave.

Christmas was a white one – the first white Christmas in something like 150 years! And the snow was still on the ground three days later.


From December 28th, 2010


I figure living in Georgia we would be safe from most of this – but that was not quite the case!

The New Year is just around the corner which means that the blog gets an overhaul with new goals and new everything! I will be sure to do a big post before I head up to Maryland as well. I am not gone quite yet Georgia.

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