Thursday, November 6, 2014

Strengthening Work - The Fun Way!

Which means trail riding of course!  I do love my dressage, but there’s nothing like hitting the trails for some fun and relaxation.

Actually, as a result of the last ride we had, I was pretty eager to get out and see what sort of ride we’d have. Copper has been pretty notorious on the trail, he wants to go, and go fast!

As a result I don’t do much trotting with him and hardly ever canter because I hate getting into pulling matches with him. Instead we do a lot of dressage out there - leg yields, shoulder-ins and the like, but slow-paced trail riding is kind of boring all the time. Time to see if we can kick it up a notch!

Family Photo: October 2014 - A Riding Habit
One, two, three and a half babies! -

True to form though, the first trot we had was Copper’s ex-racing Trotter trot! It was so fast and extended, and to keep up with his movement I was posting in a two point seat. It didn’t feel at all safe to me! I was thinking - “If he spooks or stumbles, I am so off over his shoulder…” so I pulled him back and was thinking I’d have to try something different.

This time I made sure to half halt and really get him in front of my leg, and held him together with my hands. He did so much better! His trot was still huge, and really forwards, but much more ride-able (and safer for a pregnant lady). ; P

Pony ears and wild flowers - A Riding Habit
Pony ears and wild flowers – nothing better! -

We went up hills and down hills at a trot. And while he thought he couldn’t trot straight down a hill and would swing his haunches out, his impulsion felt amazing at the end of the those down hill stretches! 

He really had his haunches under him, and I could feel him pushing from behind. The straightness is something we can work on in the arena, but the hill work is really getting him to work his haunches, strengthening his back and hind quarters.

I’m thinking this is what he needs to help him balance properly when cantering. He really isn’t strong enough to balance in a 20m circle and stay upright – so he falls into the “lean and zoom” method.

I’m planning on ‘strengthening’ trail work every other ride now. I usually don’t trail ride all that much because I like working in the arena, but I feel like this would be a really helpful step in his schooling regime as he needs more strength to handle the amount of impulsion I’m asking from him.

I’m keen to see how this plan works out, and I know we’ll enjoy it in the mean time.

See ya,


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