Friday, January 16, 2009


I was a little apprehensive about riding today. It was our fourth day of sub-zero weather with horses only getting some turn out in the indoor. To be safe, I put Werther's boots on and turned him out in the indoor and chased him until he seemed pretty tired. I got on and he stood quietly, which was a fairly good indicator to me that Werther had sufficiently tired himself on. I was relived to find that I had to encourage him into an active walk. I picked up a trot with light contact to let him stretch out and warm up a little before getting down to work. I started get him motivated by doing some serpentines at the posting trot. Then I moved on to doing some leg yields on a circle and an extended trot down the long end on the ring. By this time my left outside hip flexor was getting pretty tight a so I let him walk on a loose rein about half way around the ring. I picked up the trot again, preparing for Werther to complain about going back to work but he was very good. Next I did some shoulder-ins down the quarter line and I practiced shortening Werther's stride on the short end of the ring and getting him to bounce his trot up. I picked up the right lead and I remembered to use my inside leg, so Werther was very good about the canter transition. However, my hip flexor started to tighten up again so I did a circle and made him stop and walk again. I anticipated that Werther would be bad about picking up the canter after his break but Werther was very good. He did not even try to root. I did a few more circles and trot canter transitions and I also practiced an extended canter down the long side. I transitioned downward to the trot again and let him trot with a loose rein while still maintaining the frame. I changed direction and increased my contact again and cantered on the left lead doing the same exercises. He was good this direction too, but he was a little more hesitant to pick up the canter on this lead. I finished with a loose rein trot and he stayed in a really nice frame, I almost did not want to stop. I a day that had the odds for a good ride stacked against me, I am really glad Werther was so good! My favorite change about taking Dressage lessons is that I felt like I had a plan for my flat work, instead of deciding what I wanted to do on a whim. 

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