Monday, February 25, 2013

15m circles? Why yes we can!

So my apologies, I had this written up last week and forgot to post it.  Thus I have updated it a little and am posting it now.  Sorry!

Not a big update, but a small milestone reached!  We are making progress, the TWH's trot is getting better and better and the canter/trot transition is coming right along.  He is starting to get into a shape that isn't so round and when you feel his chest you can actually feel some muscle instead of flub.  Yay!

Our only focus during our rides is the quality of trot and the correctness of our canter/trot transition.  The trot is feeling really nice and his inconsistency is fading.  He is keeping a true trot most of the time, even as we warm up, and his flexibility in the trot is slowly reappearing after a long absence.  I have been working these past couple of weeks on getting the trot balanced through turns and we are finally getting it.  Last week but especially this past weekend I was successful in getting 15m circles at both the trot and the canter without him loosing the quality of the gait.  Success!!

I have a lesson on Thursday in dressage, I want H to see how he is doing and see if she has any suggestions to help us along before we start jumping.  I don't expect anything major and I think she will see we have come a long way so hopefully next week I will pull out my jumping saddle again and start working on two point.  We have our first show the first weekend of May, it is coming fast!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Trotting along

The far swinging temperatures are reeking havoc on life here in at LogDog Acres but life is soldering on.  I have ridden the TWH a couple of times, we are working on consistency within the trot, contact within transitions and a decent canter/trot transition still.  I have been asked several times wouldn't it be easier to use a horse more suited towards the discipline, one that trots naturally perhaps?  Unfortunately I would, yes, but it isn't what I have.  I keep going back and forth on whether I should sell the TWH and get something suited, the issue is that the TWH is such a darn good horse.  Easy keeper, great personality, easy to ride, same horse at home as he is when he is out and he is so honest in his attempts.  I am going to keep soldering on and see how he does this show year and go from there.  Until then...

Trotting is our big homework right now.  Since I haven't been consistent in riding (due to weather this time!!), when I do ride I spend a lot of time working on the trot.  I want it a true trot, a balanced trot, one that isn't completely on the forehand and, ideally, in my outside rein.  We can get glimpses of it without too much fight, thankfully, and when I rode last week with RB4 we had a pretty good ride.  We even are getting pretty decent canter/trot transitions at times, where he picks up the trot within a stride or two of dropping out of the canter.  They are much worse when he is tired, that is a fitness issue though.  We are working on that.

This past weekend I took him on another trail ride (on the road), it was just warming up from the storm that dumped 6.5" of snow and the packed snow was just squishy enough to provide good traction.  Since our last trail ride involved a lot of fighting when I asked for a walk, I allowed only two gaits.  Walk or trot and nothing in between.  Things went pretty well and we ended up trotting a total of about a mile and a half.

All of our work was getting the TWH to trot in a straight line, at the same speed, with contact but maintaining self carriage and not flopping onto his forehand.  As soon as he flops onto his forehand he speeds up and looses his cadence so I played with getting him balanced and then feeding him rein to get him maintain it himself.  It was actually really hard for him, more than I thought it would be.  I guess long straight lines are harder to do than 20m circles, even at the end of our ride I couldn't get him to maintain the self carriage every time.  I really hope that the weather cooperates this weekend so I can do a repeat though I am not sure it will, it is only going to be in the upper 20's and it typically needs to be in the low 30's for the packed snow/ice to be squishy enough to have safe traction.

I planned on riding last night however SO had a coworker come over for dinner so those plans were dashed.  I am not sure if I will ride tonight but I am riding on Wednesday!  Our first show is tentatively May 5th, that's only 3 months away!!!!!