Monday, 6 April 2015

Fun Weekend

Rock star
We trailered back up to the main exhibition grounds yesterday to continue on with our show prep weekend.

Both my 'S' friends were there again, and we had a few new additions as well. Unfortunately for me and my mini jump course, all the poles were quickly used up building a crazy trail course. I did have fun playing in there as well, so my disappointment was pretty short lived. We'll be back soon for a jump course.




We started out with a short lesson, and then moved on to the obstacles. I started with a line of cones (about 8) set 9' apart. The idea is to leg yield through them in a zig zag pattern. It really forces you to be precise with your aids because 9' isn't as much space as you'd think. Once we were successful at the walk, we moved up to trot. I started with every second cone and got it done although it wasn't pretty. Honestly, we never did go through perfectly at the trot - I ended up having to cheat a bit and let Midge lead a little more than idea with her shoulders. Still, good practice - I should be setting up stuff like that at home to keep us honest!

We moved on to a bunch of raised poles set in a figure eight pattern. Ideally, you'd canter them, but they were on maybe 10m circles, and there is no way Midge can do that! So we trotted and pony was champion of the trot poles.

Next up, we moved on to a 10' square box marked out by poles. The idea is to trot in, circle at a trot inside the box, and trot out. It's doable, but you really need excellent shoulder control. I suspect Midge could do it on a good day, but yesterday she was fairly distracted by all the goings on and managed 3/4 on our best try. Another exercise that I may bring back later because it really forces you to be precise. It's easy to think I'm getting it done in a bigger space, but  when the boundaries are visually defined it becomes apparent we're pretty sloppy! I'll go back tomorrow and take some pics of the trail course - it's pretty cool.

After all the exercises involving discipline and control, it seemed an opportune time to let Midge have a good canter. She was a little stickier than she's been in the past couple of weeks, but I was pleased to get it done with minimal drama or sucking back. Unfortunately her big stampy feet (she sounds like a freight train!) spooked a friend's horse partway across the arena. We took that opportunity to go back to our mock flat class and did a lot of passing at the trot and canter, purposely cutting it a bit close. Midge was unsure, but settled in. Excellent practice for sure!

We finished off with a nice trail ride that included a lake, bridges, and cantering some logs. Fun! Since I ended up being in the saddle for 4 hours yesterday, Midge gets a well deserved vacation today. We'll get back at it tomorrow - we've got some shows to prep for!!

12 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. We are really spoiled around here - I tend to recap my lessons and arena rides rather than the trail rides, since trail riding is an everyday thing. One day I'll think and take some better pictures of our trail adventures :)

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a great weekend and I am very jealous that you have trails like that you can access!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're quite lucky and have more trails than I can possibly ride! This is a very active mountain biking and ATV area, so we bonus out with shared trails.

      Delete
  3. Riding trail obstacles is SO much fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot how applicable and useful they are to every day riding and training - definitely not just a western thing!

      Delete
  4. 4 hours in the saddle is awesome!!! That trail looks loooovely :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The leaves are coming out which makes me very happy! It's crazy how many hours we spend out doing things - I completely lose track of time and Midge never complains. She gets plenty of rest breaks with her buddies, so that likely helps.

      Delete
  5. A TEN FOOT BOX?! I don't even know if I can circle in ten feet, let alone on a horse! Way to go Midge. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trick is to find the slowest, most collected trot you can get and really move those shoulders. I found it easiest to ride a square right against the edges rather than a circle too - it gave us a tiny bit more room. I thought there was no way it could happen, but everyone got at least a U turn done in there!

      Delete
  6. i'm so happy to hear you're having so many fun rides again!! and i agree about setting out actual cones or poles as a physical demarcation. the visuals really help me focus on geometry rather than just pick on the horse, and it makes it easier for both of us.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those pole trail exercises sound pretty cool, I'd love to see photos if you managed to snap some. I am so glad Midge was so good & know all about big feet making noise as they canter...i see your cob paws and raise you friesianX clodhoppers ☺

    ReplyDelete