Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Fine Ride on a Fine Day

After what felt like a year of rainy days…  Finally, I was back in the saddle!
I decided to take a casual warm up approach.

Those of you that have been following along may already know how much I enjoy practicing my walk, trot, and canter on the buckle and just let my horse decide where we go.  My only stipulation is that she remain in the gait I requested.  This was my warm up.
Those who have been following along may also know about the policy I put into place from the day I started riding the Fancy Pony regarding jumps.  If she approaches the jump on her own accord, we go over it.  Period.
When I set this policy in place, the sorts of jumps we would be approaching were, perhaps, 12”-18”.

There were several jumps set up around the arena at about 2’-2’3”.  No big deal, but not totally insignificant, either.

We walked all over the place.  We walked long diagonals.  We walked circles (sort of).
Then, we trotted.

We trotted circles (again, sort of), and diagonals.
And guess who approached a jump…

I didn’t even have to tell her what to do.  She just nonchalantly approached this 2’3” rail with a Christmas tree under it, and trotted on over it and out the other side.  All I did was post!
I thought, “OK, now that you’ve got that out of your system, we can continue this warm up.”
Then, she took herself to it and trotted it again!

When we moved on to cantering on the buckle, she had the most polite canter ever (while maintain a true and energetic canter) and ultimately took herself over a small vertical and the tree again!  At this point, I decided we had just about enough warming up (obviously she was ready for work), and got down to business.

It was a day of transitions.
10 trot steps – 10 walk steps – 10 trot – 10 walk
All while riding the circle
or the long diagonal
sitting the trot
Now, make it 5.
5 trot – 5 walk – 5 trot – 5 walk

So, my horse can count.  I have to change the number.
She was focused for me and tried her best to stay in the bridle and carry herself.  To carry us both, really…

Then came the canter work!
Maintaining this idea of keeping it together through the transitions, she stepped deep into the first canter.
And, oh holy cow could I feel the JUMP!
THIS is what the judges mean when they want to see more jump in the canter!
I *GET* it, now!!

I focused on maintaining rideability while keeping the jump in the canter.  I tried to set her up for quiet, balanced downward transitions (which we got about 80% of the time).
Back to the trot work and trot-walk-trot transitions, just to make sure it all still works…
And then, we were just done.
Walked out and cooled off.  I didn’t want to overdo it, and she was so incredibly focused and giving, I wanted to end on a good note.

Next ride will be musical ponies through jump grids…
But, after that, I’m going to try our canter-trot-canter transitions!!


  1. love these pictures! she sounds like so much fun to ride (and unsurprisingly reminds me a bit of my own fancy arab mare haha). my trainer is working hard to teach me how to achieve that 'jump' in the canter and i only get it now and then but what a good feeling - and what a good Fancy Pony!

    1. I think I'm developing quite an affinity for mares!
      That "feeling" is so hard to teach... But, man oh man, how exhilerating when it happens!!
      I love hearing about your fancy Arab mare!
      There may be nothing better than a chestnut mare once you win her to your cause... ;)



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