Monday, 26 May 2014

Trot sets, Rollbacks, and Schooling

As the weather gets better and better, Koda and I are ramping up our training regime.  We've embarked on our first trot set (oh goodness... need to plan those better), did a super cool jump school at the arena, and did a basic flat school at home.

Trot Sets Day
I really want both Koda and I to be fit for our up coming season so my thought was let's do some trot sets!  Now, I did some basic research on it, where you'd want to start with your horse, amount of time of work vs rest, etc., then headed out to give 'er a go.  Since I'm still freaked out about riding on the roads or outside of an enclosed area without others around, we did our sets in the back field.  The plan was to do 3 sets of 5 minutes of trot (not poking around, at least a working trot) with 2 minutes of walk.  To notch it up a bit for me, I decided to ride it all in two point.  As we went through our sets, some canter was thrown in to spice it up, but otherwise we just kept trucking along around the back field, doing some circles, etc.  During the last set, I lost focus (legs were DYING) as we were cantering back close to the barn.  Koda slowed up and started to do a weird hind end crow hop, I'm assuming half-heartedly bucking.  I get pulled out of my dream of legs in pain as my nose is heading towards his mane.  Luckily I caught myself and once we were both settled decided the lil bugger was going to WORK the last few minutes of the set.

Lesson learned: always focus and change it up during the sets to help keep the focus!
All ready to trot!
Rollbacks Day
As I was heading away for the weekend, I wanted to get a really good ride in before giving Koda the weekend off.  We headed to the arena, me thinking I was going to work on a simple small course, perhaps a basic hunter course.  Once it got time to set the course, I was much too lazy to set an entire course, so just set up 3 jumps along centerline on angles, hoping to ride a slightly skewed serpentine over them.  Also, since I want to keep wearing my big girl panties, I bumped the heights up to 2'9".  As we started the exercise, it became EXTREMELY evident that we wouldn't be able to do the serpentine loops (too tight of turn) so I changed the pattern.  The first few times over, it was ok but not great.  Took a break trying to figure out what's not working.... ah ha!  I'm not RIDING Koda to the fences, I'm just dumping him!  Ok, with that figured, off we went again and with me riding my horse, the exercise went so smoothly.  When Koda was set up, he just flew over those fences even when we went into a tight rollback or jumped on an angle.  If we weren't set right, he'd still jump it but not exactly in style (deer jumps!).

Lesson learned: At height, RIDE your horse to the fences, use your body!
Quick graze before heading home
Today was my first day back in the tack after the whirlwind weekend back home.  I'm in the process of breaking in a new pair of field boots and decided to take them out tonight for a ride.  To keep it simple, I decided to do a flat school, nothing major or new, just riding our regular exercises in the back field.  Everything was fine, although after 20 minutes my left calf was dying from the boot being so tight.  Koda was a pretty good boy although he was a bit confused and uptight about working on dressage in the field where he usually gets to run, play, and most importantly, GRAZE!  He did put in some good work for me, getting more strides with him working through, but it is not consistent in the least.  He goes better at the arena in the deeper footing, but it's still good for him to learn to school in any area.  Afterall, he is an eventer ;)
I think the ride could have been better if I rode in my broken-in boots, but overall he did well.

Lesson learned: Soften new boots with conditioner/wearing around the house more before first ride.
Prairie sunset.  I love this time of year!

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