Monday, November 12, 2018

Ronnie Rides Nov 8/11 2018

cutest little Ron

  November is a month I like to give my horses off, and use the time to prep my farm for winter.  I have to use what few weekends I have with no plans, and no snow yet to get some things done around here before the snow flies.  Also, I have no where to ride while the ground is wet and slippery. Sad face.  While my girls have been having a little vacation, and Emmy is getting used to her new life, I am thankful to have Ronnie to ride to keep me on form.

  I rode her twice last week, the wind was just so insane around here there were only a few good days to ride even having access to my moms arena.  Not a huge deal, Ronnie is very level headed and can have as many days off and is never any different when we get back to work.  This is good because I am already starting to lose riding fitness and clearly wouldn't have the same sticking power!

  The goal for the winter is to get Ronnies canter solidified, with the transitions also, so we can hopefully do Training level and maybe even First level next year.  My actual goal to achieve this is to school her canter until it is the best, easiest most balanced canter there is.  There is about 5 months ahead of us in arena work.  We can achieve a lot in those 5 months.  One thing Carl Hester said about eventers he has taught, is that they never school the canter enough.  I'm going to take that as a challenge this winter with all my horses.

  Right away in my rides I am starting out in the stretch at the walk and trot, but mindful she is stretching up through her shoulders and the base of her neck and not just dragging her nose and walking around on the forehand.  Once we start the trot work, we keep the stretch and am doing lots of circles, change of direction and bend, and some leg yielding to start to limber her up.  She has been stretching really well the last few rides right from the start.  Breathing out and relaxing which makes for a great start to the ride.

Ronnies new Anky pad - two thumbs DOWN

  I have started doing my canter work at the beginning of my ride after warm up.  It is a bit of a test for Ronnie who can sometimes be a bit nappy in her transitions.  They are worse when she isn't warmed up and in front of my leg. Her transitions this week were quite good, picking up the canter in the stride after asking.  She is still about 80/20 on getting her left lead, but it usually boils down to not enough bend, too much inside rein, or a bad aide from me.  Her left lead is not as good as the right.  It lacks balance and strength.  Our first ride last week she was a bit lazy into the left lead, so I got off her back and had a little gallop around the arena letting her stretch right down.  Then brought her back and went large around the arena, using the corners to balance and push her through the turn, then shoulder fore down the long side and through the end at the short stride. 

  On the right her canter is much more balanced, and we can do shoulder fore, and I have also started adding some shallow loops down the long wall.  I set up three canter poles on the quarter line and cantered her down through those each direction several times.  The canter poles are good for developing both our eyes, and for her to engage her hind end and also learn where her legs are, and also helps with rhythm.  I also set up a chute on the quarter line, just two poles about 2.5 feet apart parallel to the wall.  I would canter down the quarter line, straight through the chute, and out.  Focusing on our corners through the turn, then straightness through the line, and again riding the turn at the end.  Such a great exercise to encourage straightness in the canter.

So not into the social media that day LOL Match game on point though

  For our trot work, we are working on coming more up through the shoulders and base of the neck.  I have been focusing mostly on shoulder in, travers, and leg yield to get her really supple.  Working her through each of these several times each direction, really allowing her to have her head and move forward to not close her up to much, or lose much of her cadence.  At this point she is still just learning these movements, but they improve every ride out.  Her shoulder in is especially getting there and her leg yields are just about confirmed and quite nice.

  We have also started working on baby lenthenings, which are starting to take some form.  She finds this a bit more difficult.  I think she finds it easy to "sit" and not quite as easy to "push".  I only really ask down the long side or on a circle, which seems to the best place for her at the time. At the end of our ride, before our final cool out, I like to see how fancy of a trot we can get going.  It requires so much leg and perfect hands, but when you get that nice impulsive trot with self carriage for just a few strides, it gives me so much excitement for what is to come.

  I finished my ride last night riding the first 5-6 movements of the new USEF Training level test 1.  She picked up her left lead canter up exactly as asked, and did the circle no problem.  The rest was a bit of a gong show so clearly we have work to do, but the canter is coming which was the biggest worry.  I guess we have a lot of time ahead of us to perfect the rest.  

  I will ride her a few times this week, then my coach is down for the weekend where will have a lesson each day.  Can't wait!


  1. How nice to have access to an indoor when you need it! I like canvas arenas for the warmth but in the wind they can be pretty loud.

    1. Ours is actually pretty quiet, never had an issue with the wind! Love it to bits.

    2. You must have it in a great location. It’s also possible that the ones I was in were not installed properly. One place I boarded when it was windy it sounded like it was going to collapse. I’ve been thinking of it for here. Maybes someday.

    3. I've definitely been in ones like that, my neighbours actually blew away, twice LOL! I think my parents just had a good contractor that knew what they were doing and didn't cheap out.

  2. I've heard trainers say that we spend so much time working on the trot, that we "forget" about the canter, or that by the time we get to it, our horses are spent. So, seems like a good plan to get right to it!

    1. Yes exactly! Use it while you have the energy type of thing.

  3. She sounds like such a fun horse to play with!! Glad you are getting some productive rides in with her, esp before winter hits!


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