Monday, November 23, 2015

Pics or it didn’t happen…


So this happened at 6 o’clock Monday morning – a ride!

He’s had two weeks off due to busyness and sickness on my part - lame, I know, but at least we are back in the saddle!

Predictably Copper was stiff, a little more unco than usual, and not a very soft ride for our first schooling session back but we still had a decent ride so I was super happy about that.

I dropped my stirrups for 10 minutes and did some no stirrup walk/trotting while circling and it really was some of the best circle work, in terms of consistent bend, that we’ve had in a while - despite the two weeks off.

I know why – it’s because my hips tend to contort on a circle, and my shoulders tip and twist and basically I make it super hard for Copper to actually work a circle correctly. I don’t know why this is – my theory is that it’s because I’ve spent so many years fighting my saddle for a correct position that the muscle memory is overtaking me and making me twist up like a pretzel.

But when I drop my stirrups something magical happens and my hips suddenly start sitting where they are supposed to be! My leg drops long to balance me, so my shoulders stay back, and basically everything suddenly works!! :O

Solution: lots of no stirrup work – particularly when riding circles. At least once, each rein, every ride. The plan is to retrain my muscles without stirrups and hopefully then be able to translate that back into the stirrups later on.

After that, I picked up my stirrups again and we had a nice as-good-as-can-be-expected trot and a decent canter on each lead.

I’m pleased that the spring sillies have gone away, and that I finally have a horse with a brain again. For about a month or so there it was like riding a four year old!

I would lunge him, and he’d be physically tired when I got up to ride him, but his brain would still be skittery, and he’d be “up” – ready to spook at the slightest thing.

It was the weirdest feeling – usually when a horse is physically tired, and Copper is like this – their brains usually calm right down. But with the spring sillies, I’d be pushing as hard as I can to keep him going, yet feeling like his brain was spinning it’s hamster wheel as fast as it could…

A very strange feeling!


So I’m very glad my pony-boy is feeling much more like himself again. Even if it was good practise working with a tense horse, I much prefer my steady Standie instead!

See ya,


Monday, November 2, 2015

One step at a time

Slowly we are pulling it together.

Our downwards transitions still suck. I need to half-halt more and keep my elbows soft and tucked by my side.

My legs are getting better, but I’m still struggling with keeping them underneath my hips.

While my core is stronger than it was, it needs to be even more stronger still. That helps me balance, and when I keep my abs switched on, so does Copper!

All that said – I’m so obsessed with this recent schooling video.

Our canter transition is awful because this is halfway through our ride, and he was tired from cantering twice before so he’s slopping along here, but it was still quiet which is a good improvement.

He’s bobbing his head about like a duck looking for food, but the connection is getting there and he’s definitely starting to look more uphill than before, and rounded too!

I love it!

I know I’m not just seeing his improvement, I am also feeling it too. For the first time ever, the other day he actually stepped under himself properly for a downwards transition from trot to walk. I felt him reach underneath himself with his right hind, and step into the walk from behind. He’s never done that before, and it felt sooo awesome! 

Just one step, but one step forwards, and we will get there one step at a time.

See ya,


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