Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When less is okay

My plan on Tuesday was to just ride Kaswyn bareback and lunge Fire and Albert. However, I ended up riding both Kaswyn and Albert bareback. Kaswyn I rode in a halter, but Albert I put a bridle on.

You might wonder why I ride bareback and in a halter, especially when I'm short on time. It's faster tacking up and untacking, and I don't have saddles and bridles to clean. You might not think that it makes that much of a difference, but it made enough of a difference on Thursday that I was able to ride Albert too. I usually leave the barn with only five minutes to spare to be able to pick up the girls on time, which is kind of a bad thing because if I hit traffic I'm hosed.

I also like riding bareback. Not all the time, because I don't feel like I can really train hard when I'm bareback, but I love how it shows me my flaws. For example, on Thursday my ride with Kaswyn revealed that I'm still not letting my left leg stay long enough. I could tell this because I was sliding a bit to the right, and when I'd let my leg get long and sit squarely on both seat bones I wasn't off balance. It was more evident in the corners because I was leaning my upper body to the inside while going around corners to the left. I'm also letting my right shoulder come up a bit at the same time, so I'm getting all twisted up again. It's only been a few weeks since my last lesson, and those old bad habits are already starting to creep back in. A bit discouraging, but I'll keep working on it.

Kaswyn is amazing in that he can "get on the bit" without a bit while being ridden in his halter. I can collect him, do extended paces with him (sometimes it's hard to stay with him though!), and even do half-pass and canter pirouettes. I think this makes my trainer crazy, and I don't think that she really likes that I do training type rides bareback AND with a halter, but sometimes it's the only way I can fit everything into my day.

Sure, I suppose I could just use tack and not clean it, but ugh, I just hate that. The reins get all gross, as do the billet straps, and I hate the black smudgy crud that accumulates on the saddle flaps. And don't get the started on the gross bits and flash nosebands. So I MUST clean them. Yes I'm obsessive.

Anyhow, Albert's ride was really nice. He's got such a nice back and it's very comfortable. We schooled a bit of shoulder in and trot half-pass. There was no way I could stay with his medium trots, so we just did the collected work. We also worked on walk to canter transitions. He still comes off the bit a little for those but they are improving.

Poor little Fire got the short end of the stick and was just lunged. He's so fat right now and is still a little stress ball. I told Marge he needs to go on a diet, and then I saw how much she was feeding him, and she said "Yes, I know this is too much, I just feel bad for him." I told her he would be much better off with less and she dumped half of the grain back into the grain cart, saying "I know I know! He just gets so little anyway that this doesn't seem like enough." He's got a huge gut and if it's going to come off then he needs less to eat. Fortunately he doesn't have a cresty neck or any of the laminitic warning signs.

Today the plan is to ride Kaswyn and Albert, then go have dinner with Susan. Craig is taking care of getting the girls home and fed, so I'm going to ride and then go have a big cheeseburger and fries. Oh, how I LOVE fries!


Golden the Pony Girl said...

I love riding bareback for the very same reasons. I think it should be part of the normal training regiment :)

Suzi said...

Just found your blog - I'm an Arab dressage rider working on breaking htrough to 2nd level (collection is HARD!!!!)

Great to catch up on your adventures! I'm in Vegas now, so we'll be heading to Nampa in the fall - wish Lexington weren't 7 days haul for us!!!

Will be checking in on you periodically!

V. Viola said...

Dear Dressage Mom, Love your blog. I train dressage in a backyard barn mostly by myself. I read your blog to keep focus between lessons. Thanks. I wanted to recommend hay stretchers for "Fire" the stressball who's on a diet. We have a porky shetland pony who can't have more than a handful of grain so the hay stretchers satiate his appetite.

dressagemom said...


Sounds good but I'm pretty sure the horse's owner would not pay extra for it, and the barn won't throw it in for free. :(

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