Saturday, December 27, 2014

back to basics

Isabel has been a tad feisty in our schooling rides lately. This is probably a function of two things: crap weather = inconsistent riding schedule; and super trashed arena footing means I end up micromanaging almost every single step - lest Isabel step into a hole and die. It's for her own good, really, but she still doesn't appreciate it. 

'i must be FREE' - isabel

Meanwhile, I've also been rolling Anne Kursinski's exercises around in my mind for the past few weeks. With the aforementioned feisty mare and inconsistent riding schedule, a lot of my planned exercises have gone by the wayside in lieu of some basics like, uh, rhythm. But perhaps there's a happy medium? 

I took advantage of some poles that were already in the arena and set up 4 trot poles up the outside line from F, and 3 canter poles just to the left of the centerline, starting around X heading towards K. This may sound like random placement, but if you saw the many many holes in our arena you'd understand what I'm working with...


Anyway, we started with trotting all of this in both directions, halting straight each time. The 'halt straight' thing isn't really Isabel's specialty, so I started adding a rein back after every halt (plus lots and LOTS of praise).

Our canters were a touch wild too - which was pretty undesirable given the tight turns and sloppy conditions. But she started to figure it out. Trot the poles, halt straight, rein back, forward into canter for canter poles, halt straight, rein back, rinse repeat. 

Halting after the canter poles was really not easy - especially headed towards the gate. But Isabel got the gist of it after a while, and then I could just sit up and easily get that nice trot transition and move right to the trot poles. 


worn out pony needs the fence to hold her up while napping lol

It was pretty basic stuff - but good work all the same. The wet sand was definitely a bit of a slog for Isabel, and she was blowing by the time we wrapped up (but not sweaty. she pretty much never sweats... an arabian thing, I guess). 

Isabel had to make quite a few corrections through the trot poles bc she wanted to rush. But she nailed the canter poles every time. And, despite the rushing and feisty canters, she was honestly still very good - walking like a normal horse when I wanted to walk. Trotting quasi-politely until I cued for canter. All good stuff. And she eventually figured out the halt thing. Hopefully this will translate to helping get our simple changes in corners while jumping. 

Ultimately I liked this exercise bc it kept both of us busy mentally. At a time when Isabel is likely to be dolphin-leaping down the long side of the ring like a lunatic, it's nice to have somewhere to channel that energy. Plus, I could let go through the poles and let them do the work for me. Score!

In any case, it was nice to be at the barn during weekday daylight hours. We had the place almost to ourselves, and I didn't feel like we had to race the impending darkness. Definitely something I could get used to lol.... And another thing I could get used to is chocolate covered pretzels left for me from one of the lesson kids - how sweet!!


And obviously kitten spam. I will probably never get tired of this bc it's so stinkin cute lol...

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very productive ride! I love kitty spam!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i love kitty spam too - so much fuzzy cuteness <3

      Delete
  2. Cute kitties! And too bad about the hole-y footing. Sounds like you guys got a lot accomplished though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! yea the footing situation is a real drag.. they're probably going to need to lay down an entirely new surface, and who knows how long that'll take...

      Delete
  3. Ha! Love the picture of her and the fence. That is one tired pony! But sounds like you had a very nice ride.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha yea she is definitely susceptible to nap attacks... :)

      Delete
  4. Max has been the same way...I bet ya it's the weather! Sounds like you guys have a good plan going there. Chocolate covered pretzels are the best snack to have after a good horsey workout ^.^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i LOVE chocolate covered pretzels - perfect combo of sweet and salt :) and yea, the weather has the horses simultaneously feeling good and yet a bit lethargic lol

      Delete
  5. I can't wait to be far enough along in training to give the naughty pony some pole work to focus on :) (As you can guess, also dealing with crap weather and sketchy footing --> Hyper pony syndrome )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yea naughty hyper ponies are not always the most fun... i'm finding that putting isabel to work on something like poles is helping to take the edge off a bit and refocus her - maybe that would work for your girls too?

      Delete
  6. Kittens!! So cute!! I love that picture of Isabel propping up on the fence. It made me giggle. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha yea she is a lazy lazy mare lol. glad you love the kitty pics. i have seemingly millions of them that will all eventually make appearances when other media is limited ;)

      Delete