Thursday, April 8, 2021

Working on the Basics

Our weather has been gorgeous for early spring and I have been blissfully spending time outside gardening, tidying up the farm after winter, and most importantly riding.  

Cruz has been back under saddle three times so far.  The TRT young horse module was very helpful with winter ground training leading to seamlessly getting back into the saddle without a ground person.  I will do a separate post after I really have him going under saddle, but I have found this step by step progression of ground work that leads into the same exercises under saddle so helpful.  Anyway, he has been a rock to get on and off of, walks off quietly, yields the hind leg to turn to a stop, walks a bigger circle and halts from the seat on a straight line.  Next up is getting slightly less wobbly bigger walk circles and some steps of trot.  He feels much less gawkward than last fall but he still has that unbalanced super green horse feel.  Willing but weak.  I think he is going to be on 1-2 rides and 2-3 days in hand/long lining in my fields per week for the foreseeable future while he finishes growing.  I’d estimate he’s 200+ pounds heavier since last fall and 2 inches taller.  I think there is more to come, so we will be taking it pretty slowly this year.  I’d like to be walking him under saddle all over my property and doing a walk trot Intro test by late fall.  We’ll see.

Jet Set is doing marvelously.  So far so good on the stifle and transitioning back to working outside.  Lots of walk poles, working gaits in the dressage court, and emphasis on really correct basics.  Our winter work on improving his collectibility is really paying off with an increased ability to shift his balance back easily for transitions and much more functional working gaits.  Transitions are easy.  Leg yields are easy.  Figures and movements flow.  Now it’s just gradually expanding our repertoire outside and getting him more fit.  Right now I am leaning towards most of our training being in working gaits, think 80-90%, with splashes of collectibility exercises to improve the working gaits and movements.  I’m wondering if this might help take some pressure off his stifle and lead to a longer riding career.  His last stifle injection helped him, but nothing like the huge improvement from the first.  He is 18, so a reduced workload might be the smart thing to do.  I’m going to go with this plan for a month and see where we are, then set some show goals.  Again, we shall see.

Are you experiencing a beautiful spring and making plans or are you still trying to kick winter to the curb?

Thursday, March 18, 2021


We’re having a rainy and windy day here after several lovely 60+ days.  The trials and tribulations of spring but I will take it!  So nice to be able to ride Jet and school Cruz outside, even if it is only some of the time.  Add to that the fact that hubby and I had our fist Pfizer shot last week and life is looking good.

Dressage Today posted this image on FB the other day and I thought it was right on the money about the balance change needed for collection.  Imagine the pipe level with the water an even line.  Then the rider shifts the horse onto the haunches by sinking the tailbone down and lifting the stomach.  The rider and horse get taller and narrower and the pipe tips with the water shifting to the back.  Collection!  What a great visual!

Any images you are using to help your riding or training lately?

Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Winter is slowly giving way to spring.  We had our first 60 degree day Sunday and even though I was watching the piles of snow melt into a muddy slush I was grateful for heat and light.  It’s so hard to be patient at this time of year.  I’m ready to take blankets off, ride Jet outside, and get the Cruiser back under saddle.  

Honestly though, warmer weather aside, we need about another month to complete the TRT young horse module with C and get things really smooth.  Then the plan is to start him under saddle 2-3 times a week for spring/summer and maybe some field trips in the fall.  He turns 4 in August and looking at the above drawing that seems like a reasonable workload.

Jet is going well inside with much more ease for collectibility and some really nice work.  I feel like I have made some real breakthroughs about the biomechanics for collection.  The plan is transition to outside with some cavalletti, field walks, and then to the dressage court.  I’m not sure if his stifle will become a problem when we are doing harder work of a longer duration.  I guess this spring is going to be the time to find that out.  He has been fine with 20-25 minutes of working gaits with bits of collection mixed in.  Not sure if he will stay sound for the necessary fitness for 2nd Level but we shall see.  

How are you getting through these last weeks of winter?  Tips and tricks?