Friday, 20 July 2012

A Different Approach

Tonight the footing wasn't too bad in our riding area, so we stayed in and schooled our dressage, focusing on staying steady in the bridle and being all around consistent.  I don't think Koda has ever had this type of riding/training done with him before, so he's being introduced to higher expectations than just doing the gait itself (walk, trot, canter).  From the get go after our warm-up, I wanted him to be as soft and flexible in the bridle as he could manage.  I'm playing around with repetitive patterns and constantly changing what we are doing to see how he reacts to each.  Not surprisingly, he responds better to the repetitive patterns, even if they are more complicated than the other movements when we're constantly changing.  On a recommendation, I bought the 101 dressage exercises book (wonderful!) and have been picking and choosing ones to try.  Right now my favourites are - thread the needle and the trotting oval (warm-up).  Tonight, Koda really got down to work while doing the thread the needle, which is essentially you ride a reverse just past the corner as you go down the long-side, ride a 10-15m circle at A (or C) then ride another reverse down the second long side, so that you remain schooling in one end of the arena.

After we sat in that exercise for a while, we moved onto our 20m circle.  Since I was really trying to keep Koda soft, I wanted to keep the movements simple or slow so that I had the chance to react immediately when he softened to me (easier said than done...).  While on the 20m circle I used an exercise that I was taught on my first horse, Dillon (he was in my old header, love you Dill <3) which is trot your circle, alllllmost come to a walk, and right at the point where they're almost going to walk, push onwards into the trot.  I haven't thought throught the physics and reasonings behind it, but it really helps my timing of my aids, along with really helped engagement.  During this exercise, Koda really put in some lovely work and I discovered one of his 'tricks'.  He LOVES to toss his rider off to the right (or I get crooked) going to the right.  Something I'll really have to watch since I am right-side dominant, so when I get tossed to the right and I don't realize, those aids become heavier, so we fall out of our circle.  All in all, it was a great ride, although I need to be very careful when I give him a break or respite from working, since it will take me a few minutes to bring him back to work.  The ideal situation for us - go from the warmup ring straight to the competition ring with no time in between. 

While I was putting him away and checking on the rest of the critters, I noticed something that is not good:

warning, slightly gross

I think he caught a cold from the major weather change we had the last few days.  It went from a high of 33 Celsius to 36 hours of rain with a high of 16... not good.  He was fine while riding except for three snorts during our trot warm-up, so will take a look tomorrow and go from there.

And since I don't want to post just a snotty picture, here's a nicer one:

Got to love timers on cameras!


  1. Lots of progress. Glad you're getting rides in.

  2. Thanks :)
    Am happy that it's cooling off a touch and that we CAN ride where we're at.