Monday, January 24, 2011

Back To The Grindstone

I've been feeling oddly motivated the last few days.  It's cold, I have a cold, but still I've been compelled to go out and do something with my horse.  Must be a side effect of the cold medicine.  Or, perhaps just the fact that the snow has mostly melted and I can get outside to do things.  I was going a little stir-crazy being cooped up inside.  I'm not really an "inside" type of person.

Last Thursday was the first day the snow had really melted enough for me to use the arena.  I took Spider out for a short ride, only 30 minutes.  It was really just a warm up, no real work and nothing new.  We walked, trotted and cantered with contact, did lots of transitions and then were done. 

Friday was cold and windy, and I felt crummy from my cold, so I lunged Spider in side reins.  I wanted to work on lengthenings and medium trot, but just didn't have the energy to keep up with him in the saddle.  Not that keeping up with him on the ground is easier, I just have less to think about.

Saturday was a real treat.  I trailered over to a barn with an indoor for a lesson on long-lining.  I had introduced the concept to Spider earlier, but lacked the finesse (and knowledge) to really get him working over his back on the lines.  It's something I wanted to learn, as I can see many good applications for Spider's training with them.  Spider is a clean slate as far as the upper level movements go, it can be easier for some horses to learn the more difficult movements without the weight of the rider interefering (particularly when said rider has never trained a horse to perform that movement before and is using her horse as a guinea pig).  Also, it is impossible to see the movement while you are sitting on the horse, and thus can be difficult to tell what is going wrong (and it will go wrong, trust me!).  I want to get good enough with the long lines to school the movements both in the saddle and on the ground.  So, I asked for a lesson in it.

My trainer was able to get him working well with little effort.  I am very proud of that.  I had thought that my work with Spider and ground driving was just playing, not really accomplishing anything.  I couldn't get him round on them, so we weren't really working.  But, he knew what they were and knew what to do, so when asked for roundness (and collection!) he was ready and able to comply.  Which just goes to show even "play" has its purpose.  In this case, our play desensitized him to the feel of the lines and got him ready for more serious work.

Sunday I was curious to see how he felt after being worked on the long lines, so I hopped on him for 15 minutes or so, despite it being absolutely frigid outside.  He felt great. Sore, but still great.  Light in the contact, full of forward energy.... really lovely. 

Today is freezing again, but tomorrow promises to bring a "warm spell".  I want to ride again tomorrow (just too cold today!), then try the long lines again by myself later in the week.  I got some good pointers on how to use them, I want to revisit it while it's still fresh in our brains. 


  1. I love working my Boys on the lines. The cool thing was when my trainer lined Tucker for me and I saw how all the work I'd done carried over.

    Longlining before you ride is a great warmup for the horse and will make them feel super when you are in the saddle. The only trouble is getting all the lining gear off quickly enough after the warmup that your horse doesn't lose some of the quality you've established.

    We are still snowpacked here. My arena is still under several inches of determined white stuff.

    Yuck. Glad you got some riding time in.

  2. Well done Shannon! Productive sessions with your horse, and you overcame not feeling well + crappy weather to do it.

    Our snow should be gone tomorrow - hunting up the poop piles was getting old :)

  3. That sounds great. I hope you post more about this. I have had a total of ONE lesson on long lining and would love to hear more.

  4. Wow, that is awesome. Are you excited to hear about the snow that is coming at you? :)

  5. It all sounds so wonderful and productive!! I am so happy for you though a bit jealous of these days you have that are not friged I am longing for one.


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