Changing gears

Mister and I are going back to our roots, at least temporarily.  As much as I love dressage, Mister and I need a break.   And probably just in some training.  Mister has always loved to jog and even though we have pushed his trot out he has always retained his jog which we both love. So last week we decided to change things up. I want to ride a few western pleasure classes this year as well so for the next few months we are going to slow things down, work on his jog and lope transitions and in general take a breath. Already Mister and I seemed to have relaxed. Maybe it’s just me! All I know is that when I speed up I get more stressed out whether it’s at work or riding, when I pick up the pace I get tense, which in turn makes Mister tense. Last show season I worked on keeping myself calm which worked but it lacked shine and pizzazz.  I am open to seeing where we go.  I think we will come back to it and just go back and forth between dressage and western pleasure and will definitely keep doing western dressage. We worked on his lope and I thought it was going to take awhile since we have been working on pushing him out and speeding him up but we are getting it already!!

Our biggest problem which has followed us around for years is that he doesn’t stay in whatever gait I put him in, he will stop and I’ll have to get him going again.  I want to be able to cue him and then leave him alone until I ask for the next cue!  In the jog he’s pretty good but canter/lope he’s a bit of a quitter!  But we are working on it!  I’ve let him do it for years so now we are working on it. It’s just a matter of consistency.  I’ve always let him get away with because there was something else we were working on.  But now it’s time to get this nipped in the bud.  There’s always something to focus on and learn and that’s one of the joys of riding and working with horses-you will never learn  it all and you will always have something new to learn!!

So until  next time!

Transitions and breaks

The last few months have been difficult, we had to pull out of our last show due to injury and it was a slow progression but we are back and we are going to be stronger than before.  We worked on strengthening his topline, and took off his shoes so that he could figure out how his feet needed to be.  So far things seem to be working.  Also had a couple weeks off as I was on a work trip so we were back on track this week.

I had his shoes taken off because he seemed to be having problems with his movement, and I wasn’t sure where the problem was stemming from but I thought we should start with his feet.  The vet was out to give shots and I had her check him out and she said starting with his feet was a good idea and if he wasn’t better she will do a full lameness exam on him in a month when she was back.  She pulled on his tail to rule out neurological disorders-apparently if they have neurological disorders you can pull them over by pulling on their tail!!  He resisted her pulling on his tail so he was pretty much cleared of that!  Whew!!  The vet suggested that if it wasn’t his feet it could be his hocks.  She said that once his shoes were removed and he was trimmed he should bounce back pretty quickly, if it were his feet.  Thankfully that seems to be the case!  A few weeks of slower training and building up his topline seems to have helped us both.

We’ve been working on transitions, transitions and more transitions!!  We are working on the walk and the walk to trot transitions and fixing things we had made mistakes on before.  We are making us both use the right muscles and the right cues and smoothing it all out.  He is getting a nice marching and swinging walk and nicer trot.  Next we will be working on the trot to canter transitions then the walk to canter transitions as well.  I’ve been sore all week too!  Definitely using more muscles on my end too!

It’s been nice getting us lighter and more in touch with each other.  I want us to be able move almost seamlessly and move like one! We are definitely moving in that direction!  It’s been a lot of work this week and we were pretty tired by the end of the lesson on Saturday!  Next week 3 lessons again then after that we will be back up to our 4 and 5 days a week!  And working towards our next show in September.  Hopefully next year I can get more shows in and possibly an out of town one or two!