Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mon Dieu! Le cheval a de côté.

Yes, that's right. More French! This time, the horse went sideways. ;-)

Fortunately, the other morning cleaner showed up this morning, so I was off the hook (but I did have my muck boots). Instead, Cathy and I took our horses over to the neighbor's outdoor arena. Cathy did because her horse HATES the Doom Bubble, and the nieghbor's outdoor was relatively ok, despite all the rain. I did it because it's more fun to ride with other people, and hey, it's a new experience for Izzy and I.

Lunging was a mess. A nightmare, even. Izzy is still in a covered pen, so she doesn't get to stretch her legs a lot during the day. That means that if she has a day off, like yesterday, she is completely nuts when I get her out. Rearing, bucking, spinning, you name it, she did it. I can tell my confidence is improving, because it didn't bother me to watch her. I just waited until she was done, and then we went on.

When she'd had her fill of silliness, we mounted up. We did a lot of transitions through the halt to really get her listening to me. I need her to be able to focus on what I'm asking no matter where we are. And then, we did something we've never really done before: a leg yield. Yay! The horse went sideways!! More specifically, I focused on my body being correctly positioned to influence her, and I asked her to move her hips over more than her shoulders. It felt wonderful!

Then I had Cathy watch us, because I was so proud that we were doing something cool-ish. She had me do a small half-halt every time I asked Izzy to move over, to check her forward momentum. It did help, but it also confused Izzy at first. Poor pony. I also tried to incorporate a concept I heard about this summer; every time Izzy did something really well, I dropped to a walk and let her stretch and think about it. Good halt? Walk and stretch. Nice leg yield? Walk and stretch. If she focused on something outside the arena, I did pick her up immediately and go back to work. I wanted her attention on where we were. The breaks were only 10ish strides, but I want her to understand that she did something well.

The other change I tried to make was that I realized I need to keep better track of time. Iknow it takes me about an hour and forty-five minutes to groom, lunge, ride, cool out, and re-blanket, but I'm not sure what the time distribution is. I had my phone on me today to check the time, but I completely forgot to look at it. Oh well. Next time, I guess.

And here are some pictures of Izzy from earlier this summer. I should get some current ones, but she's all fuzzy...
This is back when everything was still white. I need to do some serious washing.
And this is her cute pony face. <3


  1. Don't overdo the half halt in the leg yield. The movement needs to be ridden forward. It helps to reestablish the balance and lateral moves, though.

    It's so nice when your horse responds to the aids correctly like that. All the upper level movements are actually not a big deal if the horse knows the aids. I know that sounds strange, but it's true. Once you start the lateral exercises, that will help Izzy become more supple and more supple will encourage more foward and better balance.

    Nicely done. You deserve to be smiling.

  2. Oh, by the way, "cute" is not the operative word for about "beautiful" instead? *S*

  3. I'm not exactly a fan of the half-halts. I don't want the horse second guessing if I am asking them to rate off of me, slow down or stop altogether. What I see a lot of here is the half-halts coming from the hands only.

    When they give you what you asked for it is a wonderful feeling indeed. Walk and relax is also a great thing when they start feeling a little rushed and confused. Walk and relax and we'll try again in a minute.

    She is beautiful. Maybe gorgeous would be another word too. And I hated the thought of white wraps even when hubby bought me a set. But they do stay White, even without using bleach. How do they do that?

  4. Half-halts can definitely be overused, but in this case, Izzy was leaning on her forehand and getting quick, so we rebalanced and then went sideways. ;-) It's kosher.

    Thanks for the compliments! She is a lovely, lovely girl.

  5. Very cute pony face indeed. And, yup, white polos are mandatory gear for dressage queens!
    (By the way, I remember reading somewhere that Pohdjasky (sp?) said he used several hundred half-halts per ride and he is pretty much The Man in dressgae.)

  6. I love France!! I have to travel there quite a bit for work. Unfortunately everyone I encounter speaks English so I haven't learned much of the language.
    I also tried to keep track of my time when I went out to my horse - the problem is that I get so involved that the time just flies by - and always takes longer than I expected.

    Izzy is gorgeous AND cute! :-)


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