Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Short Ride

I decided to be daring today and saddle up. My riding area is still a disaster, but I found a nice, dry spot in the front lawn to ride in. Shhh! Don't tell my husband, he hates it when I ride in the lawn! He thinks the horse's hooves will gouge it up. Which is true, but what he sees as "gouges" I see as "aeration". I only planned on walking, anyway, seeing as how I wasn't 100% confidant in the footing and I didn't want to leave any tell-tale hoof prints in the lawn.

Did I say I was only going to walk? Oops. That didn't happen. It started out as just walking in a training/first level frame. He went into the contact nicely, but felt a little stiff. So I asked for some flexion in the shoulders, right and left, to get him loosened up. Then I asked him for haunches in and out. Then we did some figure eights. Then I decided to ask for a little more collection and he jigged a bit. When a horse jigs, my usual response is to put my inside leg on and drive him forward up into the contact. Which resulted in a trot (this often happens with a horse that isn't fit, it's easier for them to take the contact in trot than walk). The trot was nice, so we kept trotting (I know, I know...Big No-no. I should have brought him back to walk and repeated my request for more collection. But it was just so fun!). We did some figure eights in trot and then.....well, cantering just felt like the right thing to do. And any good horseman knows that you should always trust your instincts. So we cantered a few 20m circles in both directions, more to the left since he was very stiff in that direction. When he felt nice and loose and really working in his back I brought him back down to a medium walk and asked for a more collected walk again. The trot and canter were just what he needed to loosen up and he was able to show a nice walk with no jigging. So we called it a day. It was only a thirty minute workout, but with the two of us being so out of shape, it was good work.

What did we learn? Well, even though Spider and I are out of shape, we do retain at least a memory of the work we were doing this summer. I was pleased that I was able to get him into a nice frame and he stayed loose and relaxed through most of the work. He's still very stiff when tracking left, and the issue is exacerbated by his lack of muscle. More work will fix that. I also noticed that he seems to have completely adjusted to being barefoot. He moved exactly the same way he did when he was shod, I honestly didn't even think about the fact he was barefoot the entire ride. There was literally no difference! Most importantly, I learned that an unshod horse does not leave tell-tale hoof prints in your husband's nice front lawn. I think that little bit of information will come in very handy this winter.


  1. SSSHHHHHH Your secret is safe with us!!!!!! :o)

  2. Haha, you must have a massive front lawn.

    We won't tell anyone. ;-)

  3. you say. The lawn will be OK, the lawn will be OK....

    I guess hubby doesn't read the blog? *G*

    Glad you got a nice bit of work in, regardless. It does sound as if Spider is really trained. When he does all those exercises correctly after a long layoff, it's clear he's learned his lessons. Good for you both!


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