Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Well, I completely blew the weekly posts for April.

I tried to keep up with it but it just didn’t happen. We’ll see what I can do about May. I’ve written some stuff that might be kind of controversial. Should be interesting to read the comments. And hear what my trainer thinks!

Speaking of my trainer, the lesson I had with her last week has really changed the way I ride Phil, which is pretty common for my lessons. It seems like every time I have a lesson it’s time to move on to the next level of training with him. We started by just trying to slow things down, went to working to establish a connection, then onto suppleness and straightness, then establishing a half-halt, and now working over the back into my hand and connection.

When I rode him the next day after my lesson, I realized that he was really running through my half halts. I had to do a few really strong ones for him to listen, and then a few minutes later he blew through them again. It was frustrating for both of us. I had been on him long enough but I didn’t want to end the session on a bad note. I took a little walk break and started thinking back to my lesson. What was I missing? I couldn’t think of anything.

I picked up the trot again, and as I came around this one corner I had a flashback. In my lesson, when I had rounded the very same corner, my trainer had said something like “Don’t just give away the contact. Make it feel like he’s pulling you into the contact. OWN this trot.” It was then that I realized I was giving a little too much. I had gone from one extreme to the other; from hanging onto him so that he didn’t rush forward to letting him have too much control.

So I sat down and rode him like I would Kaswyn. I took the contact and pushed him into my hand. I didn’t expect the super steady contact like Kaswyn gives me, but I expected him to come into my hand. When he didn’t, I pushed him there, being elastic but not too giving. It was fantastic!! We ended on a great note, both of us tired.
Then he had a day off, with just turnout. The next day I rode and did the same thing – I owned the trot. Again, it was great. We also did a lot of straight lines of canter. I was so happy!

Then the next day… well, that wasn’t so great. Phil was acting very subdued in the crossties, almost sleepy. I got on him and he felt okay initially, but when I cantered to the right he felt like he had a flat tire behind. I immediately stopped, walked, and called it done. I made my poor pony sore.

I gave him a dose of Banamine and three days off from riding (he was either lunged or turned out), and today I will ride him. I’m very cautious now when it comes to injuries after all that I went through with Kaswyn. When something doesn’t feel right I’m going to listen to my gut (and my butt!) and give him time off if needed. I don’t think he’s hurt or anything but I want to make sure I give him time to recover between workouts. In the future I will be more careful not to overwork him like I did. I don’t want him to have a major career ending injury just because I was impatient.

I’m looking forward to seeing what today’s ride will be. Hopefully we’ll both own the trot.

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