Narrow Focus

I got to hang out with L. on Tuesday. It was super awesome to see her new barn. It’s very fancy, calm and clean. I had serious barn envy. But that barn is like 2.5x my budget so that’s not on my radar any time. Dante is still a lovable goober. He’s looking more and more like a chunk of a horse instead of a gangly baby boy.

After visiting L, I always end up thinking about doing transitions more. As a result, that rolled over into my ride on Wednesday. I had a shorter amount of time on Wednesday as I was making dinner that night.

My plan was to just do my normal warmup of w-t-c and then call it. I asked for a lot of up and down transitions. My goal was to make them quick off the cue and proper. I wanted Scarlet to go up into an actual trot and a forward canter when I asked for it rather than shuffling into the gait and then moving up properly. It wasn’t perfect but I’m going to try to do this more often so that Scarlet stops getting tense during them.

Friday we did more transitions. Scarlet still got tense, as I expected him to do. It’s going to be a long process of getting him to stop anticipating. It might not even happen. He’s always been a horse that tries to anticipate rather than wait. They really do improve the gaits. I focused on the transitions within the warmup to make sure we improved everything right from the start.

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Someone had raised the crossrails to verticals since the last time I’d ridden in the jump arena. I figured I’d give it a chance. It was messy for sure. We didn’t knock anything down but I attribute that more to how athletic Scarlet can be with jumping.

After doing the circle both ways (we need to really work much harder on that one later) I wanted to ride the white line again. Since I knew I had to just let Scarlet go a bit shorter strides to make it (such baby pony strides he has) I figured we could manage it.

We did the vertical to the gate first. I asked for a shorter stride aaaaaand we added more than we needed to. I did it again and just didn’t mess with him. It went much better.

I’ve always gone vertical to the gate but figured I really should do it the other way as well. We cantered around on the right lead and over the gate. Scarlet just had to stare straight down at the fence and had no momentum. He smashed through the top pole of the fence. Full on both forelegs smack in the middle of his cannons.

Sigh.

I pulled him to a stop and replaced the pole. After getting back on, we went around and reapproached. It must have gotten through Scarlet’s skull that the previous attempt kinda hurt. He did a no-touchy jump with about an extra foot of space. I wasn’t quite ready for it and I yanked on his mouth. We ended up trotting to the vertical and going over it.

We regrouped at the walk for a moment and then we reapproached. This time, I grabbed a large chunk of mane and kept myself out of his way. He still didn’t want to touch the pole (duh dude…) but it wasn’t as dramatic as the previous one. I gave him a big pat and a cookie and then we cooled down.

Saturday we had a nice relaxed bareback ride. Scarlet was super duper relaxed from the start. We had about 12 total minutes of trot and canter and otherwise, we just walked for almost half an hour. It was a nice relaxed ride. I love when we are both on the same wavelength for rides.

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11 thoughts on “Narrow Focus

    • Aw thank you! I find that I have to think methodically about it since I don’t have lessons to guide me. If I don’t plan, I just ride in circles and never improve.

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    • It really helps to have a loose plan of “let’s do transitions” or “let’s work on lateral stuff” or even just let’s make sure that all waits are forward at all times. Its a flexible schedule because horses have bad days too. And most of that stuff doesn’t require drilling. I just incorporate it into my ride as best I can.

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  1. I’ve been throwing a lot more transitions into the mix as well and it’s making Mae more tired out, which is good! I’m planning on putting more trot – canter transitions in there as well

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