Thursday, November 10, 2016

ugly duckling phases

If I could give you more interesting or exciting riding media... well, I promise I would. Maybe one of these days I will set my helmet camera up on the (massively convenient) ledge that surrounds the indoor.

so itchy all the time
Tho honestly you can guess what the footage might look like at this stage anyway. Visualize:

Speed-trotting race horse barrels around the narrow indoor, navigating around the jumps and lesson students like the decidedly non-expert that he is. Above, below and everywhere around the bit except *on* it. And shoulders poppin' out errywhere!!

While part of me feels guilty for depriving you of this glorious scene... Oh. Wait. Haha no you can totally see it in those other videos I've posted of Charlie haha. (one cross rail! a few cross rails!! an oxer!!!!). Inspiring, no?

***maximum derp***
That's not to say it's boring, tho. At least not for me. He's still a little different every day but the general trajectory is changing. For instance, his first few weeks under saddle as a riding horse were distinguished by a very high and braced head carriage, with occasional dives down.

he's thinking about exiting stage left
Lately, he's mostly found that soft easy going lesson-horse-esque frame of plodding along with his nose poked out, while still occasionally diving down. The 'high and braced' is appearing less and less frequently. Perhaps it was just a function of sore race horse feet? Or perhaps he's simply figuring things out? Idk.

check out that cross over tho lol. can we call this liberty turn on the haunches?
It also suits my current work load and life style right now too to know that a simple 20min, ride focusing on the most basic of basics, is just fine for Charlie. At this stage in his training, just going through the motions can occasionally be just as (or more) beneficial for him as hard, rigorous work.

yep, he's definitely leaving. bye charlie!
Add in the fact that the time change means we're basically relegated to the small indoor during weeknights and... yea it's best to have low expectations lol. It's not that Charlie doesn't steer well. It's just that it's a small space and there are back to back lessons all night.

browband so bright tho!
The up-down lesson kids are easy to ride with bc they just stay on the rail and don't do anything. The advanced kids are more challenging tho, since they all go different speeds and make figures and jump courses... and my big lanky guy with unreliable "go" and "whoa" aids is a tough fit in the midst of all that.

dirty mirror selfie ftw
It's cool tho. I still <3 the indoor! Tho my fingers are crossed that the program director's grand plans for lights in the outdoor eventually pan out haha.

PLUS. I'm hustlin' hard to make regular lessons a thing again. We're not quite there yet, but sooooon, I hope. There will be plenty more exciting things to write about (and hopefully pictures to see too!) eventually :)

What types of things do you like to work on with your horses when you're limited for time and/or space?


  1. Basics, basics, basics - I an never work on them enough if only because I never quite seem to get them anywhere near good enough. That's probably more a symptom of my haphazard saddle time though

  2. I'm still doing a ton of walk work. I basically use it to get him really soft and supple and in tune with my aids. Plus I can throw in the lateral work to keep us from going crazy.

    In general if I'm on a limited time schedule, I try to stick with ease things so we can be successful.

  3. All Grif and I do any more is ride 30-40 minutes. Since Stephen, I've been focusing on getting him to be more accepting of contact and to have the proper bend. We've introduced some lateral work, too. I'd say we work on him being more reactive to my leg...but I don't know that we worked on it so much as he's simply better about it at home than he was that day at the clinic! We also do TONS of transitions to keep his brain busy. And also working to make sure he's using the correct lead when he canters, because homeboy is so goddamn balanced that the counter canter is just as comfortable!

  4. Allllll the transitions (I hate transitions haha). Plus adjustability in speeds at the walk. I totally feel your pain about being relegated to a small indoor for winter.... Although I don't typically have to dodge lesson kids, so there's that! Charlie is so cute 😍

  5. Welcome to Darkland, as I refer to the Cold Time Between Time Changes. I try for a couple of twi-night rides midweek in the gloaming between 4:15 and 5:15. They're not super-effective (horse is furry, ground often frozen) but they're something. Outdoor, obviously, and without lights so I'm kind of limited in what I can do. Generally 10 min walking warmup on loose rein, 20 minutes of remedial jogging, w/t/c lateral work, canter departures (not enough to sweat up horse), 10 min of walking cooldown. I try to ride both weekend days (DAYLIGHT! GLORIOUS DAYLIGHT!) in the winter, even if cold. Those are a little longer outings but still don't sweat up the horse.

  6. i like how the pictures for your related posts are just charlie face x 4

    I think for a horse just coming off the track who's body sore and stuff doing light riding is the best idea. i'm not a huge proponent of just turning them out for letdown time unless theyre REALLY too lame because sometimes horses get sour when they're worked a ton and suddenly realize what vacation is. so easy walk/trot rides are the perfect compromise!

  7. I always feel like my riding at home is just a moment stollen here or there in between work/kids/chores and need to be short and productive (which is why I love lessons so much because I get more time!). So at home I pick one task and work on that one thing until it is great or better at least. Like the position of my horse's shoulders at the walk and focusing on absulute correctness on straight-aways and corners. Or turning on the spot, haunches and forehand and sidepassing over poles. Making straightness and yielding good at the hault and walk will really help down the line.

  8. When I am limited on time and space I do a lot of walk work, really focusing on feeling for straightness and correctness, feeling if my own position is balanced and helpful to the horse, etc. Sometimes I will pick one simple exercise and get it as good as I can get it in the time I have. Or just go walk hills, if you have any available!

  9. Free walk to medium walk to trot, repeat forever, transitions are helpful for later and don't require too much room. I also like to play with moving the shoulders and hindquarters around's tough for babies, and can be done at the walk when the indoor is busy. Spirals are also good if you can find a bit of room.

  10. Ugh I'm not a fan of the time change and the outdoor lights we have are not at all adequate. Ryon's spook is getting a lot better in the outdoor though (forcing him) - baby steps

  11. Busy winter indoors are great for practicing random halting lol

  12. My homework right now works perfectly with busy indoors -- straightness! I hardly have to cross the arena at all, just work up and down the long sides on translating power from hind quarters to forequarters.

  13. I know I know I know that this is a super hateful thing to say because people say it to me all the time


    Think how broke he'll be after this!

    For serious. My barn is basically a circus always and yeah, there are so many things he can cope with now, lol.

    Not that he's a great example of coping, but it could be a lot worse.

  14. This is so good for him and he's handling it very well!

  15. Definitely relate to the dodging lesson kids on a horse with questionable reactivity and brakes thing!

  16. I always stick to basics when I have no time. Simple exercises to improve each gait

  17. Sharing the indoor is tough. If there is a jump lesson going on I work on what I can. Sometimes its just adjusting in the trot or working on transitions while trying to stay out of the way. Not very fun...

  18. I feel like you can never "go back to basics" enough. Ever.