Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Step

Today was a perfect day to ride. Not too hot, not too cold, and no huge gusts of wind. I'm not a wind person.

I decided to lunge Izzy today because I want to see her work on both sides and make sure she's going forward before I get on her. I used to lunge pretty much all horses as a matter of course, but this year I've realized that there was no particular reason to do that, so I'm using lunging now as a tool that can be picked up and put down at will. I'm really glad that I did so much lunge with with Izzy when we started though, because she lunges quite nicely off of voice commands. We haven't really mastered the trot-halt, but I'd rather she learn to go forward than stop quickly at this point.

Anyways, today was good. I kept Izzy going forward, and we did several trot/canter/trot transitions to the left. She does them just fine on her own, so hopefully we'll get to start working on them under saddle in the next week or so.

As for the actual riding, it was interesting. It took nearly two full circuits of the arena to get her to trot without throwing a fuss or shoving her way through one shoulder or another. I decided to keep things low key today, so we just did figure eights on a 20 meter circle, walking the change of bend in the middle. It took about two circles before Izzy relaxed, reached for the bit, and really started using herself.

I was thrilled. I haven't had this kind of softness in weeks. We didn't even try to canter. After a few more circles, I took her out around the arena once, and then let her be done after a nice, fairly square halt.

I wonder what this says... she liked the routine of the figure eights. Her transitions were softer, her body was relaxed. I'm thinking that she's like her mother enough that she gets bored with just going around. She needs something to think about. If that's true, we should probably do more lateral type work to get her thinking as she goes around. Maybe if we start with figure eights, then move off a circle? I don't know. It's something more to file away, I guess.


  1. Spiral in/spiral out can be fun - particularly on the out when you can use inside leg to outside hand and even expand it into a leg yield if you want.

  2. What a great breakthrough! Changing directions and lateral work require the horse to engage her hind end, which will make the transtions better and give you a softer feel. I agree that horses get bored with just going around, then they tune out. I love the spiraling in/out exercise that Kate suggested. It's fun and just challenging enough for horses of any level.

  3. Kate beat me to it. Spiral in and out.

    Figure 8's are good as are serpentines. Just thing about working the inside hind leg to the outside hand on the change of bend. Should help soften.


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