Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Day two of New Year's plan

Yes, I know it is not technically the new year yet, but it was easier to start on the Monday!

So, day two, Tuesday:

The mare and I did pretty much the same as yesterday. Lots of walk on a long rein to start, followed by working properly in walk, with as much seat and leg, and with as light and steady a contact as I am capable of. We then moved up into trot, and did the same exercises in trot. We had the slightly raised pole in the same place as yesterday and used that to keep her focused. Each time she tried to evade my aids, or stopped concentrating I would take her over the pole. This helped to keep us both focused, and perks her up a bit as she tends to find flatwork dull and hard work (lazy beast!)

There was an obvious improvement with the canter transitions today, mostly I think because I was using more seat and leg, and asking directly from leaving a circle or leg yield, so she was already switched on.

I still need to work more on the cool down. The moment we have finished working I let her trot one lap of the school in a long, low trot, then walk round once on each rein, but I struggle to get any more from her once she knows she has finished. I did take her for a bit of grass once I'd dismounted, as she deserved a treat for working so well.

My husband worked the gelding today. He loose schooled him for 10 mins, then led him over the pole a few times. Not a lot, but you have to start somewhere!

Tomorrow my husband is planning on riding the gelding, and I'm planning on a bit more flatwork, but with the pole in a different position in the school.

New Year's plans, one day at a time

Much as I have plans for 2014, I am realistic enough to take them one day at a time.

My plan is to improve our flatwork. I know the mare can jump, she has proven that on plenty of occasions. What we now need is some semblance of control. I have tried changing some tack around, and I think we have found what works day to day. She is in a loose ring, French link with copper lozenge bit and a drop noseband. She likes this, she is soft in it at walk and trot, and softer in canter than she was.  I also have a hanging cheek Waterford for her to hack in with a view to hunt/xc in it too if still necessary. It is not that she pulls, you have either 'got' her or you haven't, and when you haven't she just tanks!

So, flatwork. I plan to use lots of pole exercises to keep us both from getting bored, and plenty of warm up and cool down, which I am guilty of rushing.

This week my husband is off work, so I plan to make the most of virtually guilt free childcare ;D

35 minutes in the school, 15 of those spent walking, lots of stretching, walking over one slightly raised pole and encouraging her to step under more from behind. Halting over the pole too, to get her listening to me (makes a nice change!) The trot work I am trying to do as much as possible with my legs, as she has got into the habit of swinging her nose slightly, a classic avoidance technique! Still, good for me to keep my hands as still as possible and use my legs more. Canter is by far our weakest pace, she tends to grab the bit and charge (think rhino) and so I tend to grab back, before remembering and dropping my inside rein, which in turn makes me carry the outside rein and she eases off the bridle. It will come I'm sure, and with any luck I can burn off some of these chocolate biscuits! 

But isn't she looking pretty good? 

Thursday, 19 December 2013


As is customary for bloggers, here is my year round up.

2013 may have been my favourite year yet. So much has happened!

I did my trailer towing training and passed.

I joined the Riding Club (and didn't disgrace myself too much) Also met lots of new horsey people in the area.

We won our first 1st rosette.

We started competing again after a long break, with 1'9" showjumping, and ended the year jumping 3'3" hedges (well ok, 4ft if you count the one we jumped by accident!)

I had a complete confidence meltdown which made me start to consider giving up entirely, but actually when it came down to it, gave me the push I needed to accept the lack of confidence was what it was and do something about it. I now have some strategies to help when it gets bad.

Not horse related, but other very good things that have helped make 2013 the best year yet:

I got a job! After so many years out of work with having the children, I have got a job I enjoy, that is well enough paid that I can afford childcare and is very part time, so I don't get bored with the novelty of going to work - win, win!

I made some new friends.

My husband and I celebrated 8 years together and 5 years of being married.

My children are turning into rather nice people that I (mostly) enjoy spending time with (it is half way through the Christmas holidays, hence the 'mostly')

So, Happy New Year, and here is to a good 2014 !