Friday, 3 February 2017

Getting to work

Having my horses at home in my backyard is something I am very grateful for, but the trade off is being surrounded by heaps of snow and very cold temperatures with no where to ride right now.

 Trailering out may be a hassle but all is forgiven once I enter the beautiful heated beast of an arena I have at my disposal!

 All 110 x 220 heated arena to ourselves...heaven! and Savvy approves. 

I headed over for lesson #2 of 2017 and made sure not to overdo the warmup and get Savvy too hot for my main purpose of this whole endeavour - jumping!

As a side note, Savvy's puncture wound from Christmas is finally healed! You can see the black mark on her neck where the hair has not grown back yet, but the wound itself is completely gone.
The lesson started out with poles, so many poles.

We began with trot extensions and compressions over the two brown poles and added in the red poles once I had started to get her more adjustable. That red trot line was such a workout for both me and Savvy because we are so out of shape, but man this pony has springs!

Next we did brown to blue, focusing on good turns, straightness and pushing her to a lengthened trot through the blue without rushing. This was to set us up for 'forward' later on when the second last blue pole would become a cross rail.

No jumping media, but by the end Savvy was offering some very jump-like movements over this!
I had a bit of a breakthrough in this lesson regarding Savvy's strong urge to hide behind the bit. I have struggled with this, but had some success in this lesson with focusing more on leg and seat rather than what I do with contact. Before I think I was throwing away the contact in reaction to her evading, but focusing on her body instead helped me push her back out onto the contact. She is just so sensitive it is hard to keep in any steady sort of frame or pace. It seems every little thing, be it me or environment, affects her and she is the opposite of straight all. the. time. For both Savvy and myself, our biggest obstacles are our brains--we are both over-thinking everything.

The jumping itself was so fun. She was being forward and energetic and even offered up a couple of 'real' jumps rather than step-overs. Those took me by surprise and I ended up grabbing mane.

The take-home for this is doable even in the snow--even though I cannot do riding trot work, I can lunge Savvy over poles and start rebuilding her muscles. Now I just have to shovel out my poles...

Anyone have interesting pole work ideas? It looks like this will be my focus for the next little bit and don't want it to get too tedious.


  1. I really like doing a fan of three poles in the corners of the arena. Sounds like a fun lesson! Glad Savvy's puncture wound is all healed :)

    1. Thanks--that punture wound started out pretty nasty. I was surprise it healed so quickly! Corner poles are a good idea. I think I'll use that next week when I am on my own to make a smaller work space in the massive arena. It's so easy to float about and cut corners in such a big space.

  2. Eeeeee yay jump-like movements!!!! It's so stinkin exciting to see them figuring it out!! That ring looks divine too haha.

    Also I know what you mean about struggling with the horse getting behind the bit - Izzy did that too and it was very perplexing bc she was a zippy speedy little thing who was simultaneously stuck behind my leg. One visualizing that really helped me was imagining each hind leg pushing up directly into each rein (connected to my elbows). This helped me focus on getting energy from the hind end, and also on keeping her straight - as her wigglies were the fastest way to suddenly lose all contact.

    1. Oh and for poles, I'm like you - simple is best!! I've just been doing basic trot poles but my trainer encouraged me to set up at least 5 in a row, saying horses could "fake it" for fewer.

    2. It was facinating to feel the difference between the different numbers of poles. Three were easy but a fourth turned it into a stretch where I had to ride much more effectively through. Six were just nuts!