Early Days

Training update

In the last few days I’ve been feeling a little mentally out of it. Lost and confused. Disorganized. At work, at home, at the barn. Hopefully I’ll snap out of it soon because…

our entry has been mailed in for the Shepherd Ranch August 23-25 Horse Trials in Santa Ynez!!!

This will be our first real horse trial competition. We’ve signed up for Intro even though I think we could handle Beginner Novice, because I’d rather just feel more confident.

My goal for the event is simply for Hemie and I to have fun.

Deep in my heart, though, my wish is to complete the HT with a score (ie, don’t get eliminated in any phase). My big Es while riding Spirit are still haunting me. However, I’m not gonna focus on that. My focus is fun. And if we get eliminated, we will keep on practicing and then try again in the future. After all, we have our whole lives ahead of us to reach that goal (and hopefully some more exciting ones too lol).

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve thought about where we are in our training. It’s important for me to reflect and ruminate – it really does help me to be a better rider.

We had a few weeks off from dressage lessons due to the puncture wound. When I could finally ride him again I felt safer in my jump saddle (air vest hookup, smaller knee rolls, easier to find seat if he gets spooktastic). But now we are back in the regular scheduled riding program (1 dressage lesson during weekday evening, 1 jump lesson on weekend) and we’ve got our eye set on BN Test A for the show.

Generally Hemie has a very workmanlike attitude. He likes figuring out the little puzzles we give him – he’s quick to try and slow to get flustered.

But sometimes he gets a little silly and A.D.D., looking around with big eyes for things to spook at. The liverpool that he walks over regularly will magically be cause for a bulge and a hop, especially if it’s on his left side and he can dodge right. Of course, if it’s on his right side it won’t be an issue and he’ll continue straight ahead.

On good days our warm up is very straightfoward: asking for forward motion and maybe some stretching. On the silly/ADD days he gets put to work right away with a quick-changing set of tasks. Bend then straight then bend then leg yield then shoulder in then haunches in then small circle then make it bigger then smaller again, and on and on, until he gives up the silly face and gets back to a normal workmanlike attitude.

Once we get down to work we’ve been focusing on lateral suppleing – bending left and right while on a straight line or a circle, to overcome any stiffness or resistance and encourage roundness. Hemie is doing great with accepting contact throughout the ride and I need to be better about keeping it – of the two of us, I’m the one to drop it. His balance and impulsion are improving by leaps and bounds: he is really figuring out how to reach those hind legs forward and lift his back.

My goals for dressage in the coming weeks is to:

  • memorize the test.
  • work on our worst element: the free walk (it’s the first to go out the window when Hemie’s tense).
  • work on our best element: the working trot. Make sure it’s as good as we can get it – roundness, lifted back, and good energy.

Jumping update I’ll save for another day.

14 comments on “Training update

  1. good goals and I know what you mean, I feel so out of it lately.


  2. Some horses never have a good free walk (ahem, CUNA) but we love them anyways. Good luck! Sounds like a lot of fun for you guys.


  3. You got this girl!! Excited to hear about the goal you are working towards!


  4. I'm dealing with a mineral deficiency in my mare, and I'm trying to figure out what to give her. Can you let us know how you've liked the California trace? I'm really leaning towards it right now. (I live in the Bay Area). Thanks!


  5. Good goals!


  6. Yay for a HT! You'll be great :-)


  7. Awesome…you will have a blast!


  8. Thanks. I'm sending you warm thoughts still. I was out of it for a good while when I lost my first horse. Deep emotions have a way of effecting every aspect of your life.


  9. Hahaha good point!


  10. Thank you!! =)


  11. So far I have liked it. He is not tripping as much as he used to and is better able to really step under himself and cross hind legs without hesitation or awkwardness. But of course I wonder how much of that is exercise/muscle building/balance improvement versus supplementation. Coat and hooves are looking great, though they weren't in bad shape before. If Hemie had clear signs of mineral deficiency, though, I may have looked for a product with higher amounts of the active ingredients. The amounts for CA Trace appear to be more of a maintenance dose.


  12. Thank you =)


  13. Thanks and I plan on doing everything I can to make sure we just enjoy the whole experience!


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