Friday, September 12, 2014

Dressage school - first in a long time!

Yesterday was fairly epic: important early morning meeting at work, followed by a day at the Tunbridge World's Fair for work, then puppy class with Arya, and then I headed out to ride Tristan. Then I got home and collapsed. Whew.

I had tentatively planned on a dressage school, and luckily my headache cleared up in time.

We've been concentrating so hard on adding miles that this was the first time we've worked in a ring for more than a few minutes in...4 weeks? 5 weeks? Either way, a loooooong time!

I started off with lots of marching walk, and then modified that into some lateral work at the walk as I picked up the reins. We then segued into trot, and spent a lot of time working on getting the trot forward. Lateral work checked out ok in the trot, too.

He felt - not hitchy, or problematic, but uneven, so I focused a lot on getting him stable in the outside rein, on getting him to soften up through his jaw and poll and not brace against the reins.

Canter was actually pretty darn good. He felt strong, which was great, even when he turned that against me. I would call the canter work mildly productive, in that while he was strong and very heavy, I was able to lighten him up a little bit. He also stayed relatively straight, which was great.

He did get a little more winded than I hoped for, but we took frequent walk breaks and picked back up again when his breathing returned to normal. We took a longer break at the end and then finished with about 5 minutes of long and low trot to stretch him out.

He wasn't exactly warm, but I did toss his cooler on him anyway, since the temperature was dropping fast. He then proceeded to freak me out by being slow and picky to eat his hay, which is VERY unlike him. I listened to gut sounds, and watched him drink and poop, then texted the barn manager anyway to ask if the hay was new. Turns out he had just had extra turnout that day and had gotten way more hay than he usually did. He was a bit tired and just not pretending to be starving to death!

I still got almost all the way home, couldn't stop worrying, turned around, checked in on him, and made sure I'd latched his stall door. (A perpetual freakout of mine.) He was almost done what hay was left and just started at me like "Seriously, mom?"

Then I proceeded to worry until this morning when I knew someone else would lay eyes on him for breakfast. My brain, it is not always fun.


  1. sounds like all that fitness work is paying dividends. does your tracking app work for arena rides too? i'm always kind of surprised at the actual distances traveled when working in a ring - like, whoa we did 3 miles just circling the sand box??? lol

    1. I debated doing that but ended up not. I really should next time. I'm also curious about how fast his trot and canter are when we get to what I would call a good forward tempo, which he never gets in the field.

      I do think the strength work is going very well! I noticed when I longed him earlier this week that he was stronger and straighter in the canter. It was really encouraging to see it come together.


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