I can’t believe we are in week six of no lessons. At least we have had some nice weather! While it stays warm, I have some exercises to help you and your horse focus. If your horse is full of extra shenanigans, please remember, transitions and deep corners help your horse focus and expend energy more than racing around, AND there is no reason you need to canter. Horses tend to stay quieter and be less spooky at the walk and trot…they also tend to get less sweaty!
If we do get into a deep freeze, I might do up a ground work obstacle course for a few days if people are interested: the bridge, horse ball, side pass poll, small jump to lead over? Thoughts?
I have more pole patterns this week. It’s three patterns you can do individually or as a course. These really helped Midas focus today, as he has been very distracted by the far end. He found the canter work particularly challenging.
#1 (Pink/Red), Trot the yellow poles. Halt straight and count to 3. Turn on the forehand (vary which way), stay standing for a moment, and then trot back over the poles. Halting before and after the TOF can help reduce a horse’s anxiety about the TOF.
#2 (Purple). Canter left lead and do an oval going through the first set of poles. Continue on the oval, and then do a simple change through collected trot or walk, and do an oval to the right that goes through both sets of poles. Continue for another half oval, and do a second change and do a final oval at the C end. It is best to try to do the downward transition BEFORE you get in between the poles. This requires steering while you transition so look where you are going. You may find your horse stalls a bit between the poles as they start to anticipate the transition…don’t let this bother you. Remember to half halt to help your horse with the turns and transitions as they come up quickly!
#3 (Orangish). Trot down the long side. Near E or B, do a 10 meter half circle, and trot towards A or C over one set of poles on the center line. Remember to half halt to prepare for the collection needed to come out of the 10 meter half circle with an adequate trot to navigate the trot poles. This is a good exercise to practice trotting down centerline with confidence for dressage, coming of of turns with power for jumpers, and helping a horse who is afraid of A focus on his big yellow legs….
As always, stay safe, have fun, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!