A Lesson

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving (if you celebrate). I followed mine with having a lesson on Friday morning. It was really really cold, even though our lesson was at 10am. Despite the cold, it was an amazing lesson.

I got there and was tacked up about fifteen minutes early. That was the perfect amount of time to warm Scarlet up. He definitely moves much better after a full walk-trot-canter rotation on both sides and I wanted us to get the best of the lesson.

My trainer said that we had improved a lot. That made me really happy. Our contact and responsiveness was much better. Even the right bend had improved somewhat. Not much but when you start out at negative twenty, getting to zero is an improvement.

We worked on getting a good stride going for the canter now that we could do it fairly well at the trot. Scarlet will easily fall into a nice easy canter but it does not have any energy to it. My trainer urged me to ride it as forward as needed, into a gallop if I have to, in order to get a good moment of suspension in the canter. We worked on doing that with both leads. It was definitely a quicker dash around our circle than I normally work with. I had to stand in a two point occasionally to encourage Scarlet to pick his back up and into a good canter. I didn’t have to exclusively be in a two-point which is nice. Once I got him going, Scarlet got the hang of it and kept up the pace.

After the canter was sorted, we worked on the downward transition. To do so, my trainer wanted us to practice transitions within the gait using a half halt. We did this both in the trot and the canter. We extended the gait and then half halted to collect it. This was difficult in the trot as Scarlet thought that we were just stopping. But he got it after a few tries. Going to the right it was harder for him to not break. This is something we are going to have to work on.

After that, we started some lateral work! I was super excited about that as I know that lateral work can really help with suppleness. We did some walk leg yields in both direction. Scarlet thought that leg yielding was too hard so he tried to fake me out by moving “sideways” but really just walking forward and at an angle. We did a few steps sideways, then straightened, and then repeated. We did get some good crosses both directions. Then we tried it at a trot. That was much harder. We had to insist on the cross by starting at the walk and then pushing him into the trot while already moving sideways. We did get some good crosses but that will take a lot of practice.

So my homework for now is:

Canter with energy

Transitions within the gaits

Work on using the half-halt to come down from the canter to the trot (not all the time or he will expect that the half-halt always means go to trot)

Leg yields at the walk and trot

Quite the list for homework. Even more difficult because the holidays are here and time is in high demand for other things. Let’s hope that I can squeeze in rides here and there in order to get some good practice going.


Power Horse

I did another night ride on Friday. Scarlet still has not gotten comfortable with being the only one out and having no activity going on in the barn. It was better since I let him eat while grooming him. He was less cranky when we got out to ride.

We worked a bunch on his bend. I did an exercise of going in a circle and overbending inside and outside. It is supposed to get him accepting the outside rein contact. I feel like it only marginally helped.

I also did a spiral exercise at the walk. It is quite difficult to marginally increase the spiral. It’s much easier for Scarlet to just turn rather than slightly go sideways. It was a lot of work for both of us.

On Saturday, I took advantage of riding in the daylight and rode in the jump arena. Some of the preteen riders were out there and they were riding a bunch of ponies and jumping around bareback. It looked fun but I was a little annoyed because they did not really have awareness of the rest of the arena. We got cut off a few times.

I wanted to use the poles that were out which was quite difficult to do when they were riding around. I did get to use them a bit after they finished. I focused on holding Scarlet to the pace I had set. He loves to speed up in reaction to the poles and jumps. We had to do some work where I stopped him just before the poles when he sped. It took quite a few times but we did get some good trots over the poles at a sane steady pace. I was quite happy at the end of the ride.

Out Riding – somewhat

I finally was able to get out riding this last weekend. I was out Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I normally take Tuesday as a day off and ended up taking Wednesday off as well from being too tired from having to get up extra early for work that day. So better on getting out to the barn but not back in that groove quite yet.

I was completely prepared for Scarlet to be an absolute butt on Saturday. It had been about two and a half weeks since he had gotten out so it would have made a lot of sense for him to be really fresh. But to my surprise, he was absolutely great. He was responsive and focused on his work. He had a lot of energy but it was not the type of energy that I could not direct. I was so happy with him. He must have been happy to get back out and working again.

On Sunday, I ended up riding with another boarder for a while. We walked around the arena for around twenty minutes, just chatting. We even managed to trot together. Then we broke off and did our own thing for a while. It was really nice to ride with someone else. It did mean that I did not work Scarlet as hard as I was planning on but it was a good experience for him.

Monday was our first night riding with the lights in the arena. Scarlet did fairly well all things considered. Someone was doing a jog for the vet while we were grooming and Scarlet got all worked up. He also did not get dinner before I pulled him out of his stall so he was all worked up about that as well. Then he was a little spooked at all the new shadows. Not too badly, just enough to give everything a second look. His brain was so occupied with all of the things he was worked up about, he didn’t have any left for attempting to not work hard. So we had a very good ride where I had a lot of connection from him. It was really nice.

My life is still in disarray after moving but I’m hoping to get back to carving out the necessary time to go to the barn. It will be a bit difficult still in the up coming weeks but I’m making it my priority.

No Post Still – Moving

We are still in the process of moving houses. That is taking up all my time and I literally have only been out at the barn in the last two weeks for a farrier appointment. I’m hoping to have everything finished by this weekend so I can go out again. I really hope so because I’m about to go insane from not riding.