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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

Riding in the winter.....

...is so not fun!  :-(  I am not a winter person at all.  I hate having to bundle up to go outside.  And yes, I obviously was born and raised (and still live...) in the wrong state!  LOL!

This week is back to reality for me which means back to work teaching.  :)  Last week during vacation I got to ride a bunch of times, which was nice, but seriously, I am NOT a winter riding person.  At least we had a bit of the January thaw, with daytime highs in the sun up into the 40s and 50s!  I sometimes wish I had an indoor to ride in, but then I think that I would still wimp out from the cold.  LOL!  Granted, with Dreamy I am careful not to ride when it is very cold, seeing as it can irritate her breathing issues.

I rode Dreamy four times over my 11 day vacation, all bareback.  Mostly I was too lazy to actually tack her up, but also I think it was good for my posture.  I had to sit up at the canter or I would have fallen off!  Ha ha ha.  And Dreamy is much happier in the canter when her owner actually RIDES her correctly...so it was productive.  The footing here has been great, which just enough snow to give some traction, but nothing too slippery or deep.  I had no real goals with her, mostly because she is out of shape and enjoying her winter time off.  All I wanted in each short ride was prompt transitions in all three gaits (which I got) and correct connection with the bit in all three gaits (again, which I got...though she was a bit above the bit at the canter, we had good contact which was progress).  So life was good!  And Dreamy seemed happy, enough to buck one day at the canter in the snow!  Whoo!  :-D

I rode Reva three times, once bareback and twice I actually tacked her up.  :)  She was very good...I did get some of an attitude on our second ride.  I think she is beginning to realize that riding is not just be-bopping around the field, but that I have expectations of her.  ;-D   Now that she is not as green as she was last year, and I have more expectations, she is realizing OH NO!  THIS IS WORK!  I was wondering when this might occur!  :)  I started asking her for transitions with softer aids, expecting her to respond from a smaller aid than I did in the past.  She is very sensitive to any downward transition more so than upwards.  She is so sensitive that she can sometimes be almost abrupt.  

But her minor attitude was easily soothed, as I brought her back to something she knows well (bending at the walk) before working again on the transitions.  She caught on quickly, and within the short 25 minutes I rode her, she was going up to the walk from the halt and up to the trot from the walk with a slight leg and seat aid.  It was great...and Reva proved that she is a quick learner.  I also worked on walking a "square" at the walk...progressing easily to an actual turn on the forehand.  All of my in-hand work with her paid off under saddle!

So not much to report...it is cold.  The horses are happy and fuzzy.  And I am planning our conditioning schedules, dreaming of spring!  :)

Comments

  1. We also enjoyed a bit of a winter thaw over the break, with above freezing temperatures! Yay! Unfortunately, I decided that since it was so warm, I didn't need to wear gloves... bad idea. That one resulted in 8 beautiful blisters. Unfortunately, we haven't been so lucky in regards to footing. Glad to hear someone's got that footing I've been hoping for!

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  2. It's amazing what bareback riding will do for your posture... especially on a standie! Haha.

    I'm the opposite. The heat makes me want to skip riding. In the winter, I bundle up, set goals, and ride, ride, ride.

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