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,


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Proof of the Pudding

I was so thrilled on Saturday this last week – but, oh! I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dog walking herself - A Riding Habit 
-  Spot the husky taking herself for a walk  -

So what happened was that I was cooling Copper off and our husky, Amabelle, decides to take herself for a walk. I was calling and whistling, but either she’s so old and deaf, or deliberately dense (which she is smart enough to be!), so she was ignoring me and continuing to dog trot off down to the bottom of the jump paddock, and then down the trail that loops away from our yards!

I was just like “Uh-oh, if she goes down there, we’ll never get her back!”  I don’t know if she remembered from the few times I took her with me on a trail ride before, but because of the aforementioned oldness and deafness I knew that she just couldn’t go down that track by herself. We’d never get her back.

I ended up chasing her on Copper, and while I was focused on catching that darn dog and heading her back home, I couldn’t help but notice how supple and responsive Copper was beneath me. He just knew we had a job to do and he was the perfect team mate! His trot was so full of impulsion but so controllable – he was on ‘the aids’ like I’d never really felt him to be before.

In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a horse that felt like they were truly in front of my leg and listening to everything I was asking for….  This is very exciting for me!

It just proves dressage is great for improving your riding, and more importantly, improving your mount! I am having so much fun riding Copper, and the more we work at dressage, the more understanding we develop with each other and how to communicate with each other.  It really is too cool for words. I can’t even describe all the awesome.

Copper coming up to say hi - A Riding Habit
-  Hi there partner! -

Oh – the dog! Well, we caught up and overtook her, she was all “Whhhattt?  I’m innocent I tell you!” but turned around and went home easily enough. *whew!*  She keep looking over her shoulder to see if I was still behind her with the horse, but I was - so no escaping for that little doggy. :D

I was so glad I was on Copper though; no way I could’ve chased her down while 26 weeks pregnant! I can hardly walk without getting out of breath, let alone run after her.

So that was our weekend ride, and it had some awesome results, but I’ll have to write up that separately ‘coz this post is already getting too long. :D

See ya,


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