Tuesday, March 30, 2010

So happy with my mare!

This weekend we had another good session on Saturday. I didn't get to lunge her over the jumps outside as the ring was too busy, but I did get to start with some lunging. I asked her to come back from the wrong lead canter on the lunge and would then ask for canter again. She was able to get and maintain the right lead several times on the lunge. Under saddle, she was really good too! She was able to stay focused despite another horse calling from the barn. It took a few times to get the right lead under saddle, but finally we did and ended with that. It was a good day.

Today was also a good day at the barn. Drifter was soaked through her sheet- apparently it isn't rainproof anymore! So, she was more then willing to come to the gate to get inside. She was wet and probably a bit cranky. She seemed a little cranky when I got on her. She relaxed pretty quickly though. Her trotting was nice and her shouler fore/in is coming along nicely. I can also now do a turn on the forehand with her in the middle of the ring, not just when she is facing a wall. The two biggest accomplishments for today were:
  • pooped at the trot!
  • Cantered in both directions on both correct leads in a circle with two other horses in the ring, like a really big, grown up and trained horsey!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Two great days.

Yesterday I was able to lunge Drifter over a small jump for the first time. She was really good overall with this exercise. She ran out the first time I presented her to it, but I didn't line her up very well and was too far away from the jump to prevent the run out. She figured out pretty quickly that cantering the jump was easier then trying to jump from a trot. She did not get wound up when cantering the jump and showed a lot more enthusiasm on her own. She cantered in both directions on both leads. I took the cross rail up to a vertical and had another little run-out, but again pilot error played a part in that. She then took it several times in each direction. She wasn't too careful and knocked the rail several times. I let her continue a few times when the rails weren't too spread out to make her look at the "new jump" and where the poles were. After lunging, I rode her WTC. She stayed more calm and didn't rush into the canter as much. She continued to have difficulty getting the correct lead, but took both leads- just in the wrong directions. I am now using my jump saddle and am able to get up into a forward or half seat when she is cantering, which seems to be helpful for her.

Today I set up a cross fail over a flower box. I lunged her over this, which went well, but there wasn't quite enough room for a lunging circle. She jumped all times but once and only took out the vertical. She was much more careful with the cross rail. Another ride after lunging, including jumping over a cross rail under saddle. We made continued progress on the ease of cantering, including cantering a large circle. I was able to force the right lead- tracking right today and save the left lead for tracking left more often. I had very little rushing at the trot, but she was very deep and going behind the bit when cantering at times. I worked on sending her forward, giving my hands and "bumping" her up when needed. She was so very good for all our work today I am so excited to ride again. I may try to get some updated videos tomorrow.

Here is a video from our last jump school:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I've gotten several rides in since our jump school, but no chance to lunge her over a jump yet.  We cantered a few times with improvement on the left lead.  I found that she is much better about cantering after doing some lateral work.

This week she is a bit stocked up with all the mud we have here, so I chose to lunge instead of ride on Tuesday.  She cantered beautifully on the lunge to the LEFT and on the LEFT lead only.  After lunging I did a few stretches to the right and found that she has adequate range of motion to get the right lead.  She will also do a flying lead change when cantering left onto the right lead if she is off balance.  However, she is very reluctant to pick up the right lead.  I have a little more luck under saddle. 

I know most horses have one lead that is difficult, especially green horses, but when do you worry about missing the lead or start correcting for the wrong lead?

Friday, March 5, 2010


Yeah, bellydancing.  It's great for building core muscles and helps me figure out where I am uneven or stiff.  I really like the class and it's great to know that it will also help improve my riding. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time off and on

Now I am down to only having Drifter in NJ.  Fritz has moved to PA for "retirement"!  It's weird knowing that if I want to ride I only have one choice now- so no more "bad days" for Drifter.  She was really tense/stiff starting off yesterday- it was wet and rainy and I hadn't been out in a week to ride!  It took me almost an hour ride just to get her moving forward.  We only worked in walk and trot.  She also pooped four times, which meant four dismounts for clean-up.  I think she's figured that little trick out.  We have a jump school on Sunday.  I am planning to ride Saturday and Sunday.

What schooling exercises do you use for getting a horse relaxed, but forward?