22.2.14

Week overview

Never having done one of these, I thought it might be a good idea to review our week! I've really decided to get us back on track for competitions, we've had a kick up the behind for lateral movements, going forwards and flying changes!

Monday 17th
Hack out (you can read about that HERE) super good boy, very calm and relaxed and very happy rider

Tuesday 18th

Day off so hand walked outdoors in the afternoon when there was clear round jumping going on = crazy wild pony who decided to show off to everyone how well he can rear up and buck, as well as how good he is at doing stallion head shakes! It's so funny how he will never rear or buck when I ride, he only spooks but when he is being lunged or walked, he will never spook and always rears up and bucks. Funny horse. I very much appreciate that it's this way, I don't think I'd be very good at staying on Vallu seems to be quite the expert at rearing up - it would be very high! So I've come to conclusion to always put on all boots (including overreach boots on all four legs) as well as having him on the lunge line with a bridle on.

Wednesday 19th
We got to ride indoors and to my surprise I had a super calm horse! I rode at the same time as the girl who owns the horse we hacked out with on Monday, Vallu really likes him and seems to always  be very calm when this horse is around! :) But Vallu so calm that I had to work hard to push him to go BIG instead of just plodding along happily at his comfortable slow pace.

I tried a new thing which I'd read about somewhere, warming up with flying changes so that in the end they'd be easy for both us. We started warming up with single flying changes on the diagonal, focussing that they were straight but most of all making sure the canter was forwards so that it doesn't slow down after the change. After this we then did flying changes on a serpentine with a change every time we crossed over the centreline.

Once flying changes were good, we moved onto trot work. I mainly concentrated on making sure that Vallu was swinging properly through his back, and then pushing from his hind legs. I sometimes forget how big this horse is, and I become complacent because his normal slow trot feels quite big to me because of his size. A big bouncy trot feels absolutely massive, but that is what needs to become the new norm. Even though there has been progress on this since the AF lesson ages ago when Andrew pointed it out, I still need to make a good trot feel 'normal' to me. In the end I got massive leg yield and superb shoulder-in, and wow what a feeling!

Thursday 20th
My only morning ride of the week, and my gosh what a great way to start your day...
We started with lots of transitions (mixing walk trot and canter so he never knew what he was going to do next - V such a clever horse that if we do just walk trot walk he starts predicting when we're going to do something so mixing the three makes him listen to me) to get him to sit on his hind-end →  in order to have actual transitions, instead of just falling down, becoming heavy and leaning on the bit.

Ended up having to slightly pissing him off to get him to go forwards, and I swear I got an actual growl from him when I really pushed him on :D We worked on two different exercises:
1. Down the long side trot shoulder in, at half way point e.g. E or B in long arena then transition to canter and immediately into half pass spur towards the centre line - confusing for your brain at first ;)
2. The slightly easier version is fully in canter - so first canter shoulder-in down the long side, followed by half pass from the middle point towards the centre line.
After this goes well then progress to a long diagonal of half pass - something we have not practised in a long time,  I'm far more comfortable with just a short bit of half pass than an entire long diagonal of half pass. Need to make sure that after first half of the diagonal to concentrate on the pace of the canter, we need to keep going forwards and it needs to energetic, otherwise canter becomes too flat for the flying change to be good at the end. So much to think about!

Friday 21st
On Friday evening we spent 40 mins in an indoor arena full of show jumps!! So in the sprit of "you must challenge yourself at least once a week" I managed to do a bit of fun canter walk transitions zig zagging around the jumps as well as a bit of just trotting along in a weird serpentine that varied in size depending on how we decided to avoid the jumps :D

I think it's great to always push yourself in uncomfortable situations and we haven't had many times that we've had to deal with massive colourful fillers e.g. 3D dice and big clouds. I'm so pleased with Vallu's attitude to them, he stayed calm and with no pressure on he sniffed them and then afterwards had no problem trotting and cantering around them... Such a good boy! :)

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