Monday I wanted to try to focus on my two-point. I figured we wouldn’t be able to get a lot of fancy stuff done after all the rain on the weekend. I was right about that. The arenas at the barn weren’t slop, but they were pretty close.
Scarlet wasn’t muddy, shockingly. Normally, he either rolls in the mud of his pen after the rain or stands in the rain, thus causing the dirt embedded in his hair to turn into mud. It made grooming not bad at all. Mondays are normally pretty quiet at the barn but the gloomy weather and wet ground made it even more so. I think there were two other people out to turn out their horses but no one else riding.
I did get Scarlet’s new saddle pad on and I think it looks pretty stylish.
The arena we normally ride in was wetter than I’d like so I went to try one of the others. One of the arenas that is generally used for turnout wasn’t terrible. The middle section of that arena is harder than the outside since all the horses just pace the edge of the fenceline. I was able to get a pretty decent sized oval going.
Two-pointing at the trot seems next to impossible for me. My steering goes kaput, my legs shoot backwards, I over balance forwards and I have huge hunks of Scarlet’s mane in my hands. I almost got it a few times by making a pseudo strap out of the extra reins. I stretched that between my hands and leaned it on his withers to give me a larger balance point. Canter worked so much better. I was able to stay up, balanced and away from his back 75% of the time. I could probably be slightly stiffer in the two-point there as I bob a lot with the rhythm of the canter but it was much better. I did lots and lots of circles at both speeds.
I’m not sure why my two-point at the trot is so terrible. I have a few theories. One is I just don’t have enough muscle. I definitely have pathetic core muscles at the moment. (Do those core workouts Alex!) I could feel a bit of steadying when I managed to get my core tighter. So that may help. Another theory is that my saddle/stirrups aren’t helping. I had my stirrups at my jumping length. I think it may be too short. Or just too short on this particular saddle. I have a Wintec AP saddle, so the seat is somewhat between a dressage seat and a jumping seat. It’s not as deep as a dressage but it definitely doesn’t want your legs up in a jumping position either. I didn’t feel nearly as stable as I wanted to, riding around like that for a while. I’m going to try one hole down next time. I’m not sure if that is going to make much of a difference but it is what I have until I get a second opinion on how my stirrup length/saddle works for me.
Tuesday was super dreary. It was grey and cold. I even wore my winter vest out to the barn to add some warmth. Scarlet wasn’t really reactive, even though it was windy and cold. So good boy there. I wanted to get him really stretching through the warm up as I probably didn’t do his back any favors by being so freaking terrible the day before. It’s hard to get him to consistently hold a low and long position. He will go low, so low his nose almost brushes the dirt. He holds it for a few strides and then pops back up.
It took a bit but we got some good trot work with his head lower but his back still feeling like it was working. I think it helped a lot. I want to integrate this more into the warm up. Hopefully, we can get it faster in the future.
After that, I decided that I wanted to work on some transitions. Scarlet has been hollowing a lot in the trot canter transition so I wanted to work on that a bit. I got a few in there that felt good, but I’m not positive if they just felt good for Scarlet or were actually correct. Someday, I’ll get back out to a dressage trainer for a lesson to help me with those. Or any trainer who works flatwork. I don’t have a preference, as long as they actually know what they are doing.
So, do you guys have magical core exercises? Specifically, ones that target your lower back muscles? I do planks and supermans (though those last ones don’t seem to do much) but that area is much harder to target than the rest of my core.