New Years Eve was amazing. I finally rode!! I hadn’t ridden since Thanksgiving, due to the knee injury and horrible weather. It was amazing. We only did walk-trot, doing circles in the small area of the arena that wasn’t mush, focusing on not letting his shoulder fall in nor his hind quarters fall out while bending. But boy it felt good to be in the saddle again.
|Heart and half-moon|
The half-moon came out more like a pac-man, so I abandoned my true calling to do a fleur-de-lis. I’m gonna need different clippers and lots more practice before I can handle that! My trainer has offered a few times to help me “finish” clipping him. I think she’s mildly embarrassed by my horse’s fuzzy coat and childish designs. But too bad – I love ’em!
Even though I wasn’t able to ride for a few weeks, I have gotten some lessons on how to bit-up, aka longe him with side reins. This is a really cool training tool for when you can’t ride. Here are my main takeaways from the longe lessons:
- Start off without side reins to warm up in each direction. Then connect so that his nose is just a few inches in front of the vertical.
- When walking or trotting, make sure is at a forward pace – to almost breaking. Unless you’re specifically working on slow trot. Need to make sure he is always marching forward.
- If he falls out of a gait, do not rush back into upwards transition. Its no longer about obedience – its about demanding balance at all times. If he falls out because he’s getting tired or unbalanced, that’s okay. Wait until current gait is balanced and then ask for nice upward.
- Its okay to have the whip in front of us. Use it to prevent falling in.
- Do not crack the whip. Only flick it. (This is a hard habit for me to change!)
- Use the same verbal commands you’ll use under saddle. Keep it consistent.
- Try to minimize hip swinging, and head/neck counter-bending. Little tugs plus clucks to keep him focused on me.
Notes from Hemie’s trainer rides and bit-ups:
- Hemie falls in on the circle, especially when tracking right. Need to block by having whip in front of us when longing, or by dramatic inside leg aid on shoulder. Kick!
- Hemie will still sometimes counter canter when tracking right. Need to move hip to the inside to correct.When riding, note that dramatic outer leg aid (moving back towards hind) is okay.
- Hemie is doing good with increased contact, both at bit-up and under saddle. Keep this level of contact going.
Tomorrow, we take our stool sample to test for worms! Ah, the joys of horse ownership. Weather permitting, I’ll get a lesson too!