Sunday, February 26, 2017

Discretion is the better part of valor

On Thursday I rode Princess Fancy Pants in the arena and it was a nice enough day that I decided to go for a walk out back on our little trails. Pony always wants to go to the back gate of the arena because she'd rather be outside. So at the end of our short ride of walking and trotting and a little canter, we went to the gate and opened it and went to check out the trails. There was still a lot of snow on them and it was the crunchy-on-top snow that you walk on and then sink into. We made it around the loop but I decided I wouldn't be doing any actual work out there just yet.

So yesterday I get the grand idea that it is time to ride outside and since the arena footing is still covered in snow that I'd head out front to the pastures. There is a big-enough workable area without snow on it, and the footing is firm but not too hard. Perfect, right!? We did a little warm up in the covered arena and pony was good for some walk, trot, and a little canter, so I decided to head out to the pasture. We had some nice forward trot and found a path through the trees and with room for some nice straight lines. Everything seemed to be going well and then pony tried to pull some tricks. Squeal! Leap! Sort of buck! Leap again! Twist the body! Nope, Pony, nopenopenope! Put her back to work and a little more squealing and antics. Nope! Shut that down! Back to work! We did some more walk and trot and transitions and circles and when she was relaxed enough I called it a day and decided to not push my luck.

I decided that everyone needed a good run-around so I opened up the pasture that is in front of the barn (horses can access it through the sacrifice area if I open up the gate). So I let Mac out. Put Paddy out. They do not want to leave the paddock. Get them out of the paddock and close the gate. But they don't want to leave the sacrifice area. WTF? I go out into the pasture and stand there calling Mac and he slowly tip-toed his way down there and then he and Paddy went into the pasture. I went back up to the paddocks and let Pony out and she galloped off to join them and then everyone had a grand run-around, just as I'd hoped. I only left them out there for 20-30 minutes while I set up dinner and then brought everyone back in.

Today I thought I might want to ride out front again, but when doing ground work in the covered arena, the wind kicked up, a cold front moved in, and I decided that discretion is the better part of valor so I'd play it safe and ride inside. I did bring out the video camera today and set it up (not a good angle, I realized after viewing the videos) to watch my ride. Of course I don't look as good as I think I do! LOL! I got some MDC stirrups and switched them from my dressage saddle to my jumping saddle, and should have put them up a hole, but I just went with them feeling a little long. It really shows how much my left leg goes out in front of me. This is something that my old eventing trainer would point out to me, especially over jumps, but after my hip-pain issues, I think it is just an unconscious thing I do because that is the most comfortable position for my hip.

We of course did a walk warm-up, but that is boring (and half the time is off-camera) so I cut that out of the video. Here's a video where we do some trot poles:

Then we worked on transitions:

And finally we finished with some canter work - just a little bit in each direction:

I don't often canter in the covered arena because I feel like there's just not that much space in there to work on going as forward as I'd like. But I was happy with this canter work - I'd say it was her best ever in here - she's feeling much more balanced and like she can handle it, so I'll have to do it more often!

I feel like she'll be ready for lessons soon, I'm so looking forward to it!


  1. It may not have been super ground-covering, but she's sure using her beautiful bum nicely in that canter video! Boy, is she ever looking good these days. Love her! - Ceylon Star

  2. Thanks so much! I'm looking forward to the ground thawing so that we can go canter long straight lines out on the trails!