I got to ride several times this week! It was amazing! Riding just makes me so happy. I can be having a crappy day at work or be really stressed out, go ride Scarlet and I’m mentally in a much better place when we are done.
I got to ride Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Wednesday was a fairly short ride but we were let out of work early for the holiday on Thursday so I got a good ride in. I did set a timer so that I wouldn’t ride for too long. Both of us are too out of shape to just jump into a long ride. Its really hard to keep track of time when I get to the barn so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t working him too hard.
I focused on several things during these rides. I really wanted to work on the spooky corner so we spent a lot of time in that corner. I rode circle after circle at all gaits in all directions until he was listening to my leg and wasn’t tensing up too badly when we got to the corner. He is still looking slightly wide eyed at it as we go through but its definitely an improvement. I’ve also stuffed my pockets full of treats and have given him some from his back while we are halted in that corner. I’m sure he is more thinking about the treats than the corner but I’m trying any sort of positive reinforcement I can get. I’ve also decided that we are going to use that corner for getting off at the end of the ride. I wait until he drops his head somewhat while halted and then I get off. I want him to start relaxing in that corner and realizing that nothing is going to hurt him.
I worked a lot on side passing. I side passed down the diagonals at a walk and then with his head pointed to the fences. I think its really helping loosen him up. That’s the hope at least. I can’t tell if he is cheating or not. He knows how to side pass correctly. He even knows how to do it from a halt and move directly sideways but he likes to cheat. No one else is riding when I am so I can only tell by feel. I need to figure out a way to fanagle my phone and video tape myself doing stuff. Maybe I’ll look up tripods for iphones.
I also did a bit of work with sitting trot. Both Scarlet and I hate that but I managed to get it done. On Saturday he was super impressive and did almost half a circle at a rideable sitting trot. I was so happy with him. I want to work on that more since he has been really anticipating the canter signal.
We also did some more work on halt-walk transitions. When we’ve worked on it a lot, he is really sensitive to my halt cue. Not so much going forward but that is another thing that is on my list of focusing.
Having goals when riding by myself is really new. I used to be that kid that just rode around in circles having fun. I never focused on a particular element unless my trainer had something she wanted me to work on at home. I feel like I’m improving as a rider since I’m focused during each and every ride on my position and how I’m asking for different things. I also can feel remarked improvement in the exercises that I have focused on for several rides. I’m hoping I can keep this up and keep planning “lessons” for me and Scarlet.
PS All of Friday was spent moving stuff and half of Saturday. Moving into a new house is absolutely exhausting!