Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trot, Canter, Repeat.

That's mostly what I've been doing since our lesson last Friday. And you know what? It's helping. Imagine that!

I don't have any cantering pictures, so here are some fuzzy fall ears:

When we first tried doing these successive transitions, Maggie was a kind of slow on the uptake. She's used to me asking her to keep cantering around a full circle, so asking her to come back so soon after picking up the canter was pretty foreign. Our instructor told us to aim for 3 strides canter, 3 strides trot, 3 strides canter, etc. Knowing that at first it would be way more than 3 strides of each (and it was). Now having practiced this a few times this week, Maggie has been much more responsive to both the upward and downward transitions.

The upward transition is really improving in particular - I had been having some trouble getting her to pick up the correct lead, especially tracking right, but she's getting it almost every time now. I'm also noticing that the canter itself is getting lighter and less rushed. Such an awesome feeling. The downward transition is coming along as well, though slower. I still have a tendency to hunch and pull back which I need to get over. I've got to keep sitting tall and quiet with my seat.

What's really cool is that her stamina for holding the canter should improve with this work. I was trying to build her up before by just cantering her around on a 20 meter circle, trying to get her to soften, but to keep holding it. But by working these transitions it's going to help her build her hind end muscles up, which in turn is going to help her hold her canter longer. Light bulb moment! Seems like an obvious solution now that I see it. I suppose everything is obvious in retrospect.

Wednesday in particular Maggie was a little bit more resistant than she had been earlier in the week; particularly when I was trying to straighten her on the circle to the left. I'm guessing she might be getting a little sore/ fatigued. I imagine she's working some muscles that hadn't gotten much use before. I'll probably take it easy with her Thursday and Friday. Maybe some lunge work.

I'm hoping to do some more jumping this weekend - probably Saturday. Sunday I'll be volunteering as a fence judge for the Groton House Farm Fall Classic. I had originally wanted to do this with Maggie, but decided it wouldn't be a good idea to push her after her surgery, so what better way to still participate than to volunteer?

One more thing I want to mention: last weekend I did a little jumping with Maggie and set up this cool little bounce grid:

Horse canter bounce grid gymnastic with ground poles and small jumps

It was really fun - I think Maggie enjoyed it as much as me - and it's geared towards getting the horse to use those butt muscles. It's a ground pole --> tiny (like not even 18") vertical --> ground pole --> cross rail --> ground rail. After going over it a few times with the cross rail I pumped it up to a 2' vertical. I got to make use of my newly acquired jumps and poles too :) I can't wait to set it up again this weekend. Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I just found your blog and am looking forward to getting caught up on it.

    It's fun to see how lots of transitions help them so much with strength and balance. I'm glad they're helping you :)