Tuesday, February 17, 2015

lesson on foot awareness

We jetted off for our lesson last weekend knowing that it'd probably be our only ride for a few days, given the imminent nose dive in temperatures. Postponing the fix-a-test clinic was disappointing - esp when trainer P noted how well we're doing on the flat (relatively) and deemed us ready... But next week will suit just fine too. 


Isabel was kinda testing her boundaries tho, and actually dumped my saddle (yes, the new leather one...) in the driveway in protestation of the girth. Never mind that she was visibly puffed up as wide as she can get... Grr (this is why we can't have nice things Isabel!)


It occurred to me that I'd been asking her to STAND since bringing her in from the field, with limited success. So fine mare. You want to move your feet?? Let's move your feet. Yup yup, lunge around me, trot trot, idc that it's a small circle just keep going... 

Needless to say Isabel was not pleased with that turn of events and wanted to be quite offended - that is, until she realized I was serious. Then she paid attention and stopped on a dime when I asked. And commenced acting like the world's quietest mare for the rest of the day. 

no joke - she waited loose in the lesson shed and never moved a foot. 

Meanwhile, back to the lesson: our flat work was pretty good!! Even at the canter in BOTH directions (gasp!). It took a lot of work, and I really really really need to pay attention to what Isabel is doing with her hind end when we're tracking right, since she wants to poke her nose out and her butt in. I'm getting better about correcting it tho, and controlling my own upper body and seat to help with straightness. 

she only made faces when it started snowing

Now that we're getting better about actual steadiness in the contact, P wants me to work more on getting Isabel to stretch out and *reach* for it. That happens in moments here and there - but not consistently. Just one more thing to work on!

panorama of ground pole exercise

We didn't really jump in the lesson, per se. Rather, we focused on footwork. There were 8 ground poles set up the center line (spread 4' apart to accommodate ponies and horses alike), and ten on a bending line from E to B. Some poles along each line were slightly raised. 

There was also a very low bounce at the far end of the arena at A (the doors in the pic above, tho you can't really see the standards bc they're brown).

We went up the center line a few times until the horses had more or less figured it out and could get through it correctly. The idea here was to let the horse adjust itself, while only providing minimal guidance on pace or track. Then we added in the curved line. 

tired yet of variations of this same pic? lol

The final exercise looked like: turn up center line from C through poles, turn right for bending line from E to B, cut across arena to canter right at E, canter around to bounce at A, trot, turn up center line from C through the poles, turn left for bending from B to E, cut across arena to canter left at B, canter bounce at A, then walk.

no action shots of Isabel, so instead enjoy this gif of B teaching Wick to bounce

Isabel handled it all really well. The curved line tracking right was more difficult for us, unsurprisingly, tho, the bounce on the left lead (so our second time through) was much more jilted and required a second trip to fix it. All said tho, I think Isabel understood the lesson and was able to make most of the necessary adjustments on her own.


So it was a good lesson. I do really enjoy the more technical aspects of ground pole exercises - and believe we're making good progress through the winter... But I will be SO happy to get back to coursework in earnest once we're back outdoors again! 

In the meantime, I'm slowly kitting out the trailer for our planned adventures this summer. The latest addition? This basic little rack for the trailer door. Right now it's hung from baling twine, tho it can hang directly from the door when I eventually take the plexiglass off the window. 

In a silly kind of way, it's almost like one of my new favorite things (except for the saddle obvi). We have collapsible saddle racks, and sure there are bridle hooks inside the trailer, but I want a place to hang our stuff when we're outside the trailer. And even better - we can still shut and lock the door with this stuff hanging there when we're away from the trailer. Yay for outdoor tack rooms!!!

What else am I missing to make our little trailer getup complete for a full day spent at a show???

22 comments:

  1. Woohoo from the bridle hanging space addition to the trailer - how awesome!
    Lesson sounds fab, there is always so much to learn! *thumbsup*

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    1. it's kinda silly how excited i get about mundane little things, but i really love that little rack!!

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    2. I love that little things excite, if we reserve excitement for only big things we'd (well i can only truly speak for myself) would spend a whole lot less time excited as i don't often get big things ;-)

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    3. i agree completely - and it's little things like this that make our every day lives immeasurably better, so why not enjoy it! :)

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  2. Sounds like a great lesson! I also pack a big plastic 'tack' trunk in my trailer - mine doesn't have a dressing room, either, so it keeps hay out of all my stuff! It fits water & bath buckets, grooming supplies, boots, whips, wraps, and all those little things. :)

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    1. ooh nice idea! i tend to get pretty lazy about just tossing things in the truck bed since my truck has a cap, but it gets messy FAST back there and a trunk or tub would really help

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  3. That looks like the pole excercise that is on that video all over facebook! I want to try it out!

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    1. haha isabel did it very well - but she's not quite at 'tristan the wonder horse' levels yet lol. but you should try it!! i only ever set up 3-4 poles in a row, so it was neat feeling the difference over a longer line

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  4. Ah yes, the bridle rack on the door, great for a couple of bridles, pushing it when you're taking a barn full of lesson horses. I enjoy our full tack room now. Big things to keep in the trailer are extras: extra halter & lead, extra hooks, extra buckets, and, as we learned the hard way, electrolytes. Those have been life savers.

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    1. haha yea our set up is really only gonna support one or two horses - fortunately tho i won't be hauling any more than that any time soon. and yea - extras are definitely on hand - including an entire extra bridle too lol. never thought about the e-lytes tho - and it's a good idea. i usually spike isabel's water at shows with gatorade since she doesn't always drink the way i'd like... but e-lytes might be better

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  5. You know what I see on a lot of trailer doors is those hanging organizers -- people use them for shoes in their closets. Basically a big sheet with a ton of little pockets sewn onto it. It's awesome to have fly spray, hoof picks, snaps, leads, etc. all tucked right there where you can reach them very easily. I like the hook system, I think that's pretty genius too (how many times have I been pissed that I have to climb back up into the trailer to get my bridle while my freak of a horse is dancing around outside?!), so I'm not sure I would replace it. Maybe you could do a hybrid system? Like, the pockety system underneath with only the bottom pockets filled, and the hanging rack up top?

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    1. i LOVE those hanging organizers!!! there's actually something pretty similar inside the trailer that's stuffed with various odds and ends... but i think i should revisit that since it's not really getting utilized to its fullest potential haha. and the hooks can hang anywhere really - that's one of the beauties of a stock trailer is that you can hang anything from anywhere just about lol

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  6. I love that lunging trick when they don't stand well!

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    1. I hadn't tried it in forever, but ooh man it works for this mare- definitely got her paying attention

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  7. That is a lot of poles! I'd have to walk through that a few times before trotting it, lol

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    1. Haha yea we definitely walked it a couple times first! I found that the large number of poles actually improved our rhythm thru the exercise - whereas Isabel will often rush thru a line of four poles

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    1. Haha it was certainly more than I ever considered setting up myself

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  9. Holy ground poles batman! I also love those blank bridle hooks. I also have a fairly light weight trunk (got for like 25 bucks at the hardware store) that always comes to shows with me cause I can pack my vest, helmet, grooming stuff, saddle pads, girths etc in it. Very handy!

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    1. Nice! Right now all my stuff is spread around in various tote bags or just stuffed somewhere in the truck - but having an actual trunk would really help

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