Thursday, July 12, 2012

Riding REALLY is work.

Especially in 80+ degree weather.

Yesterday was lesson day again. And again, we had a nice lesson, despite the horribly humid weather. I can't remember exactly what the temperatures were at 6pm last night when I had my lesson, but it had to been every bit of at least 85 degrees. Least it didn't feel all that awful ... last week was definitely worse.

So, my last ride on Gus was actually this past Monday afternoon. It wasn't a super taxing ride ... just w/t with a little canter thrown in. We worked outside (first time in while ... since it's been god-awfully hot), and while it was still hot, I really needed to work Gus. So off we went down to the lower field to work.

We started off working on the figure-8 (again) at a trot. And boy did we have some major issues with bending, especially going to the left (or was it the other left?). Needless to say, Gus was being a dramatic PITA - I'm thinking there were scary, horse-eating monsters in the weeds. Whatever. At 22 years of age, Gus should be over that crap.

After getting a few decent steps (and an okay submission on the bending issue) we headed off down the service road. And, guess what? It's still scary. We did manage to have minimal issues down the road. Just a huge spook and stop (better then spook and spin) at just random shadows (gotta love the old horse that thinks everything in life is still spooky). At the end of the service road, there was a huge bulldozer/excavator. I thought FOR SURE we were going to have issues. In the end, Gus snorted and grew about 10", but we managed to walk by the scary bulldozer/excavator without any issues. Success!!!

Yesterday's lesson, like I mentioned at the beginning, was a good lesson. Due to the 4th of July, and my work schedule the week prior to that, I haven't had a lesson since June 20th. In our lesson, we worked on bending and straightness (relative to the figure/movement), as well as transitions within the gaits (collect trot/working trot/medium trot/extended trot and collected canter/working canter). In doing the transitions, we worked primarily on a 20m circle. Unlike in past lessons, where one side of the circle was collected, the other side was more open/forward, this time it was just a couple strides of each gait.within.a.gait. So, crossing the centerline (whether at X or C), we collected the gait for a few strides, then it was a working trot until we reached the rail, then it was medium trot for a few strides, to working trot, to collected. Rinse and repeat ad nausem.We ended up doing a little bit of this (transitions within the gaits) around the arena, with a more collect trot on the short side, working trot down the long side, with an medium/extended trot at either E or B.

Canter work was basically the same thing. Only we had two canter "gaits" versus the three within the trot. Cantering a more collected canter was much more difficult for Gus, especially to the right. In the end, what worked best was to think "rein back" or "canter in reverse" while asking for a half-halt over/around the centerline. Going to the left was much easier and more pleasant to ride, but we still had a couple good attempts on the right lead. We ended up carrying this thought down the long side and ended up with "collected" canter in the corners, working canter down the long side.

That lesson really did make me and Gus, work and work hard. To those who are uneducated and think that all riding is, is just sitting there and looking pretty - well, I'll pay for an hour lesson for you. You won't be saying that again, that's for sure.

Til next time.

[P.S. Both boys are getting their pedicures again on Wednesday, July 18th. Can't wait. Gus's shoes are getting a bit loose and his hinds are starting to chip, just a little (though that is likely due to the heat and the fact that I've ridden him on gravel). Gringo, well the poor guy is just dealing with crappy looking hooves all around. Hope it's nothing serious.]

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