Thursday, June 11, 2020

cruiseliner cavaletti

Ok so... Y'all are used to hearing me go on and on (and on and on and on) about how perfect my horse is and how much I love him and all that, ad nauseam.

There's a reason having actual photo and video representation is so important, tho. First and foremost: having video really helps me connect what I'm feeling in the saddle with what it looks like in real time -- and helps me identify areas to improve.

Secondly tho.... Without the representative imagery it might be easier for y'all to forget that... Ya know... Not infrequently, despite all my gushing, we look like this. Behold, our majesty:

we r beauty, we r grace, we r the most perfect brontosaurus that ever did strut
Lolololol....... Oh man, a lot of time, money and energy has been dedicated to the pursuit of looking that good.

palette cleanser of charlie's best friend iggy being absolutely stinkin adorable 
Ahem, cough cough. For real, tho, turns out the time out of the saddle didn't do my riding many favors.

lol charlie you're a good dog <3
But on the flip side -- actually, the break was probably a net positive for Charlie. He continues to prove again and again that.... he always comes back from a break better than ever.

It's like... with time off, Charlie lets go of any mental fatigue he may have accumulated from training, as well as any physical fatigue. But simultaneously, he remembers all the lessons and skills and always comes back feeling refreshed, willing and sharp. I like it!

weeeee canter poles!!!
Honestly, it's hard to argue against the benefit of routine seasonal breaks for the horses. Except there are distinct downsides for me as the rider. Sure, if I had a whole string of horses ranging from babies to campaigners, I'd be able to have some sort of system wherein I was always riding even as individual horses rested.

def set this line a little too short
But.... as a single horse adult amateur, that's just not my life. And time out of the saddle has historically not been good for me. After past breaks, I've often experienced increased feelings of weakness in the saddle and consequently diminished confidence / increased anxiety.

This is.... counterproductive for my purposes haha.

nbd tho, look at this clever pone pone!
Interestingly, tho, so far I'm not sure that's the case. So far I actually feel pretty ok about things. Possibly bc, again, Charlie has proved over and over that everything is basically exactly as I left it three months ago.

i <3 his ears
Tho ya know, it also helps that.... It doesn't really matter right now lol. There's a couple schooling shows on the horizon that might be fun... But I feel exactly zero urgency. The ground is super hard, Charlie still doesn't have pads on, and homeboy is fat. So why push it?

not sure our turns would pass doug payne's "stringent criteria" test, tbh
Instead, we're kinda just having fun. Like this past week when my riding appointment aligned with the owner of Charlie's best friend, Iggy.

was an X instead of oxer to be inviting for all riding friends
Back in the before times, we used to occasionally ride together and set up fun trot and canter ground pole exercises. They're still working on cantering single ground poles and trotting small fences, so it always ends up being the perfect opportunity to focus on footwork and turning exercises that we can both enjoy together.

still a useful exercise tho
Plus - even better - we were able to get some video for each other!! Yay my first video footage of riding Charlie since.... our February clinic with Sally Cousins??

emma girl, pick your hands UP + put your heels DOWN!!!!
Lol and ya know.... It's fun. And useful haha. Like... It's pretty clear seeing the footage that our approach to this ride wouldn't quite pass muster with everything I just wrote over the past week or two about doing everything to a very exacting level of correctness.

wheeee canter poles the other way!
For instance, Charlie's canter is .... sluggish LOL. And I really need to get better about always riding my canter like there's a 3'3 oxer in front of us. Which... clearly is not the case here. In my defense, tho, I did a shitty job setting up all the canter poles and set them up on way too short of a stride.

aw charlie <3 just ignore that monkey on your back!
But ya know. It was actually fine. Actually, better than fine. Sluggish canter and sloppy rider aside, it actually felt like a pretty fun and effective session. We just looped around and around between various elements - very small singles, a cross rail with placing poles on takeoff and landing, and 7 canter poles in a line with some raised.

just lopin' on along!
We did two different cycles, one on each lead. The video is from the second session, which was predominantly on the left lead, tho I did switch at the end to catch a few off the right lead for video purposes too.

And god bless Charlie, he really did just canter on around in a steady consistent rhythm. And turned remarkably well as we executed quite a few smallish radius half turns (tho not immediately after any fences as Doug suggested). Sure, it's a lot harder to turn like that in a more forward canter, but eh. One thing at a time right now LOL.

video!!!!! with bonus fox <3

One of these days we might actually look as good as I feel riding this horse haha. But eh, the good feeling is nice enough <3

And in the meantime, I'm going to try to get better about setting up ground pole / cavaletti exercises weekly. Doesn't necessarily have to be the most complicated stuff in the world, but enough to give us options to keep looping around and around, while working on footwork and turning. Lmk if you have any useful resources!


  1. Oooh you're inspiring me to set up some poles to work through this week! Time to sharpen up that front end! (What? Dressage horses need a sharp front end too, lol)

    1. You should! I honestly think horses can have a lot of fun with this stuff


    Also, just noticed your videos side bar! NICE. Seeing the title of the drone one again made me remember something I meant to tell you! Not long after that video, I was out taking photos at one of the state parks and came across a local guy with his drone. It was a windy AF day and the thing had NO problem. I asked the dude what was up and he told me that it could work just fine in up to 60 mph winds. D'oh! Bet he paid a pretty freaking penny for that thing.

    1. oh man... yea, there are some BEASTLY drones out there -- there are some that can fly for HOURS in basically any conditions. mine tho? yeeeeeaaa.... it's basically a children's toy haha. like, people fly it inside their living rooms to terrify their pets and break grandma's china lol. it's definitely not gonna stand up to any sort of rough conditions!

    2. DYING re: comment about living room terrorizing.

  3. Jompies!! Yay! I think you guys still nailed the exercise you put up! Woot! And what an adorable fox! So cute <3

    1. lol thanks - honestly my biggest goal for charlie is that he can basically just go forth and do the thing regardless of whatever his rider is doing. and i think we can safely say based on the above that, yep, he's got it! lololol

  4. You guys look great! I am having some of the same thoughts you are, Connor really seems to have benefitted from the 2 month break, and I'm wondering if I could do it again in the future.

    1. thanks -- and yea, the breaks (planned or otherwise) really can be so great for the horses. i wish it was easier for one-horse ammies to still get saddle time, tho. like... over the last couple years i've sorta half heartedly looked around for school masters i could lesson on as a supplement to working with charlie. bc frankly.... *i* need to be drilled and practice more than he does, let's be real lol. but short of actually buying a second horse, idk how else to keep myself sharp other than just trying to do my best for a sustainable full time program with charlie.

    2. I am not here to advertise one particular religion/diet/workout program/whatever, but I will say that I kept up with Pilates the whole time I was away from him and this is the first time I haven't had that "getting your sea legs back" period of time in the saddle. I've also been especially kind to both of us as I build him back up, with just a lot of hacking and trail riding at first. Sample size of one, but the 2 month break + Pilates had me less jarred on the return than a 2 week break for work travel in which I did nothing but eat and drink, lol.

    3. as i wrote in the post above, my issues have more to do with anxiety and confidence in jumping big fences when i don't do it regularly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    4. I get it! I was addressing the first part of that sentence, the feeling of weakness in the saddle part. Why are there so many little parts and pieces to get all put together in exactly the right balance, ugh.

    5. lol..... don't worry you're not the first person to suggest i workout without necessarily being familiar with my existing habits ;)

      for real tho, generally, my point is that *i* don't want a break from the saddle. bc ya know... i love riding, it makes me happy, and is typically how i prefer to spend my free time. so.... the idea of taking routine breaks from riding throughout the year is.... simply not appealing to me if it can be avoided.

  5. Chimi also benefits from long breaks and remembers everything!!! My trainer always jokes the best way to train your horse is to not ride them hahahahahaha!!! But if only it was as easy for us to come back after a break :P Oh well... glad Charlie is doing well after his break and I've set up the small oxer exercise in my ring b/c of your last post so thanks for that tid bit :)

    1. ooooh awesome! i was really tempted to made the X above an oxer too, but my friend was already uncertain about having the takeoff / landing poles, so i didn't want to make it too uninviting for her. honestly tho i think it's all helpful for the horse, plus fun, so who cares, right?

  6. The answer is obviously a string of horses lol funded by - I dunno yet lol

  7. That looks like a fun time was had by all.

    1. definitely!! it's so nice to be out doing things with friends again, even if it's just a simple evening ride ;)


Thanks for leaving a comment! If you have trouble with this form, please email: fraidycat.eventing at gmail.