Week 5 – break the boredom!

If your horse is like mine, they are starting to get a little tired of the ice and general boredom that comes with winter. If you find you need to help get your horse’s attention back, or just want to help limber them up, AND work on your spatial awareness, then this first TROT exercise is for you.

Quite simply, you are trying to do a four loop serpentine from A to C, staying between the quarter-lines. From quarter-line to quarter-line is 10 meters, so you should be able to fit four 10 meter half circle loops and should be done a few meters BEFORE you get to the opposite end.

With Scotch, I expect a certain degree of collection and balance, so I am using half halts to prepare for the change in bend, a bump with the inside leg to create the new bend, and outside leg and rein to shape her turn.

With Midas, I am making sure I come in with a reasonable trot, and then just looking and turning with my reins close together, but with very little help from my leg, as I don’t want to overwhelm him. I am not as worried about correct bend, but I am making sure he is flexing (looking) the correct direction. If needed, I can always complete the circle rather than moving on to the next loop.

I am using this to keep them thinking on their balance without overwhelming them, as a way to help them focus and use their body with more symmetry.

It’s also a good way to get a feel for a 10 meter circle and to see if your left and right turns match is size and feel, without being overly repetitive.

This second exercise is more challenging. I have three poles set up at the C end, on a circle. Can you get the same number of strides between the poles to the left as you can to the right? I can you get the same number twice in a row or does your control and bend change as you go? If it changes, remember to half halt and rebalance!

To up the difficulty, add in small circles over the poles: if you circle over the pole, do you still get the same number of strides on the arc as you did without the circle? This is a good way to see if you are loosing balance and/or power on small turns, and to help you remember to LOOK where you are going.


Week 4!

This is hopefully the last week without lessons! For this week, I am hoping everyone works on getting a solid position in preparation for starting back over fences!

My favorite trot exercise is the “up, down, down” posting trot exercise. Sit two like you are changing your diagonal, and then up for one, sit two, up for one, and repeat. You may find it helps to stay more forward with your upper body, and only lightly touch down for your down phase. Try to think about how you feel in the down phase once you find your balance in this exercise, and then see if you feel the same when you change your diagonal…you should!

You can also mix it up with the “up, up, down” posting trot where you more or less hold your two point for two steps, and then touch down for one. This can really help ensure you maintain tension in your concentric and eccentric muscles in your legs, and your core muscles, to ensure you keep control of your position ALL THE TIME.

A similar exercise at the canter just involves switching from two point to sitting and back to two point every so many strides. Try to use the different positions effectively: sit when you need more control, and two point when you want (or are able) to let your horse have some freedom. Again, make sure you maintain tension in your leg and core muscles to control both positions in the canter.

Want to up the difficulty? Do these exercises with one arm stretched above your head or pulled behind your back!

I am ready to start tentatively booking lessons starting on the 11th. Text me your preferred times, or we can start filling in the lesson board. I think we should assume we still have to maintain a limited number of people at the barn, so until we hear otherwise we will continue using the booking calendar.  Lessons will be able to have up to two people, as I feel some horses/riders may be better off with a buddy, and we need to be safe!