Thursday, February 15, 2024

Hello. It’s me.


So it’s been a while.  Had a fabulous family Christmas, kids both home, lovely Christmas Eve with board games, presents, and adult beverages.  Made my heart happy.  Then Mr. Exploring Dressage Biomechanics and I were off to Greece for a week.  Had the best trip, great weather, sights galore, and celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. ❤️

After a week of ancient ruins, monuments, museums, and other wonders, the fun had to end.  With me starting to get sick on the trip back and ultimately-10 days later- being diagnosed with Covid.  I kept testing negative so was not able to get on Paxlovid and was really ill.  I was honestly out of commission for about three weeks and it was not fun.  Took me another week or so to feel mostly normal.  Lessons learned, keep testing, get on Paxlovid if at all possible, and maybe start traveling more in the “low” Covid season of late spring to early fall.  Masks only do so much when you are the only ones wearing them…

Anyhoo, after about a month off, which coincided nicely with some epically cold weather, we are back at it with a string of brisk but sunny days leading to a streak of 12 days in a row under saddle.  We have figured out the trot to canter transition (finally!), how to do diamonds as circles, 80/20 seat weight ratio, sitting to the inside of the banana, and a whole host of new concepts that I will do some posts on soon. I’ve been having fun implementing some totally new training concepts.  How’re you all holding up through the winter months and what have you been learning?

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Another Way of Thinking About Energy


As I’ve been working on being more forward with Cruise, I’ve been exploring energy concepts again.  Having a lighter contact really helps with the forward, but Cruise is (big shocker) not the most sensitive horse in the world, and no amount of thumping really impacts him except to make him lock up even more.  A couple of interesting visualizations from the TRT Method have really been helping a lot lately though, and I thought I’d share.

The first is to think of the energy as little red balls or dots that are slowly and separately revolving in your body.  As you bring your energy up the balls start revolving faster, and turn from red to yellow to green to brightest green.  Kind of like a graphic equalizer on a stereo.  The energy can then be used in groundwork or under saddle.  Sent out from your body or drawing towards your body or into the ground.  The interesting twist though, is that for go forward you are sending a steady stream of energy for the horse to connect to and match.  It sounds crazy, but it really works.  

Recently I’ve been building my energy as described, sending out the energy stream and Cruise walks on from the halt or goes from walk to trot with minimal leg.  In our trot work I’ve been thinking of the stream being a bit further ahead and a brighter green and presto a really nice forward trot with less leg from me.  For our canter transition up, I’ve been thinking of building up the energy even more in the trot, letting it get brighter green but not letting it out into the stream until it is time to GO and step into the canter.

This all sounds very woo woo but it works and the better you get at using it in the ground work the better it works for under saddle.  I’m still playing with and refining these concepts but WOW.

There is much more detail, explanation, and video at the TRT Method in the Energy module.  I highly recommend it!

Monday, December 4, 2023

Monday Musing


Gospel truth right there.  Lately I’ve been following the RS Riding progression of training, with a light following contact mostly on long lines with forward and looseness, and then adding in leg yields of varying stripes.  As our leg yields have gotten better and we’ve added more large figures with my inside leg shifting Cruise’s weight slightly over to the outside of his body, it finally is clearer to me what inside leg to outside rein means,  It is that slight weight shift out accompanied by slightly taking up the outside rein, even as little as bringing it slightly closer to the neck.  The horse is then within the corridor of the rider’s aids, abducting to the outside of the circle with the front legs so developing the thoracic sling, and balanced.  Like magic.

Monday, November 27, 2023

DNA Report…Cruise is a Venezuelan Warmblood?


I’ve always been curious about Cruise’s ancestry.  Since I bought him via a Facebook video (100% recommended, as nuts as that sounds) and he’s possibly younger, bigger and fancier than his supposed breeding might indicate, I’ve always wanted to do a DNA test.  I asked for the test as a Christmas gift and when my husband got the results he couldn’t keep it to himself.  The test explanation and  disclaimer are below.  Basically, the test is most accurate for purebreds or single crosses and as more dilution occurs accuracy goes down.  Also, breeds that are closely related can test as each other because they have so much common genetic material.  See details below.

Since Cruise was represented to me as a Hanoverian/Thoroughbred/Welsh Cob mix, the Hanoverian and Holsteiner as results one and two make sense.  Hanoverians and Holsteiners generally have a lot of Thoroughbred ancestry, so he really could be partly Thoroughbred either in a recent cross or by actual Holsteiner ancestry.  He moves like a European Warmblood, looks like one, and acts like one, so no big surprises there.  The interesting thing is the Venezuelan Criollo instead of Welsh Cob.  Nowhere near each other on the tree.  Hmmmm…I just assumed that it was lack of accuracy in the test as more crosses enter the picture but when I looked up Venezuelan Criollo on Google images I found these.

They look a lot like him and very Welsh Cob like.  My husband made the good point that someone might have assumed that a unpapered 14hh pony that looked a lot like a Welsh Cob was a Welsh Cob instead of a Venezuelan Criollo.  I doubt we’ll ever know, but it’s a thought, and might actually explain a couple of attributes like a total lack of a Winter coat and a deep intelligence.

All in all, an interesting experience!