Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday and Friday

I'm doing a quick paraphase of the call Sarah left me about her ride on Werther yesterday:

"Werther was really good yesterday. I worked a little bit on canter departs at the walk and the trot. I carried my long dressage whip and I think he responded a little better to that [than my huntseat crop], I may bring it and have you try it on Saturday. I worked with Werther on some strengthening exercises at the trot to build up his hind end, a little bit of shoulders in, haunches in, and half pass. I also played with transitions from working trot to collected trot. I think the stronger I can get his hind end, the less likely it is he will root with you. Then I played with the collected and working transitions and the canter and finished working on flying changes, trying to get him morse sensitive to the leg, which is going to help you with the canter transition."

Ellie back in: This all sounds like good training practices to me, if any  Dressage person has an opinion, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Today's ride: Today was my first day riding at the barn totally by myself, no others riders or groom. I called my Mom to let her know I got there and was going to ride. Werther was good tacking up and stood quietly when I got on, thank goodness. He was a little tense going down to the far end of the ring, it is slightly darker, and the heater makes noises, but he didn't act on his nervousness. I practiced an active walk and taking a feel, he was pretty good about the bit at the trot but fought me and locked his jaw especially on the long sides at the trot. However when we did our leg yield circles at the trot he was much better about the bit. Werther was most excellent at the canter, he picked up his leads right away, had a ton of impulsion, was really moving off his hind end and was very accepting of my hand. It was a little bit nerve wracking to feel (and be in control of) so much power underneath me. I let him walk on a loose rein, and we finished without incident. 

Shoes: Scott came and did Werther, we decided to pull his hind shoes for the winter, Mom thinks if his feet hold up alright, he will have an easier time in the snow. In front, we did shoes with boreum and full snow pads. I'll post pictures tomorrow, I did not have enough battery to do it today.

Orvis pics:

Orvis is not even two yet, next to our 15 hand something three year old. 

Orvis's knee that got kicked before he left for Minnesota.

Last thing: I'm still nervous about riding by myself, any advice from anyone who rides alone on a regular basis would be greatly appreciated. 


SillyPony said...

Hi Ellie!

First a question: What does it mean when he "Roots"? I don't recall ever hearing that term before.

Second about riding alone: I lunge first to get any extra energy out and to watch for lameness. I also tend to call someone when I'm on the way to the barn (30 minute drive) just so someone knows I'm there. I keep my cell phone on my person only when I ride alone, otherwise I leave it in my tack box. I ride in jeans so I put it DEEP into a pocket. I've seen cell phone holders that attach to your leg/boot top, too. You just have to make sure that if you have a fall you will be able to reach it, that's why putting it into a saddle bag isn't a good idea. I keep the barn office # as well as my trainer's cell. She might not be around to help, but she'll know what to tell me to do.

There's the same risk of having a fall/emergency riding alone than there is riding with a big group so just be diligent about safety precautions and being able to contact help if needed. And remember to RELAX. If you're distracted by the fact you're alone you'll send that energy right to the horse.

SassyBrunette said...

Scooby-what a sweet horse, he has such a good mind, very sensible and quiet. Michael is very nice, I always liked working with him (and I love how softly and balanced he rides).

I ride at a private barn, too, so most of the time I ride alone. Having grown up riding in a large, busy show barn this was a big change, but I actually like a lot of things about it. I enjoy having the ring to myself, no one bothers me, no drama = ) I usually let someone know I'm at the barn too, although not always. My main thing is that if no one else is in the barn I'll ride with my cell phone in my pocket. That way if something happens to me OR my horse I already have my phone and I don't have to move myself or my horse if someone is injured.

Werther definetely likes to go in a higher, more collected frame as you've noticed = ) Coming from riding hunters, it almost seems ironic but they really do have a lot more power that way. I think that working on collection and lateral movements is great conditioning and definetely improves a horse's jumping. Anything you can do to make their work easier for them is a good thing in my book. When I'm doing flatwork I usually carry a dressage whip instead of a jumping bat, I feel like I use it less and when I do it's more effective.

Ellie said...

Silly Pony - Rooting is when the horse pulls his head down and stretches his neck forward to pull the reins out the riders hands so they can stop whatever you were trying to do. It comes from the analogy of a rooting pig looking for food on the ground. I don't drive because of my disability, so the person who picks me up and drops me off always knows I'm at the barn. I need to get a vest with deep pockets from home to ride, my iphone doesn't fit in my breeches pocket! I've also arranged Werther's schedule so he gets Wednesday and Sunday off, 99.9% of the time he is a very quiet horse, and I figure that if is not quiet enough to stand when mounted he needs to be lunged.

SassyBrunette - I miss Scooby, he is an awesome horse! I like have the ring all to myself too, the guys drag it for me about three times a week, and I like look at the foot fall patterns when I do leg yields on a circle. I'm really excited about learning these Dressage techniques this winter, I think it will make me much stronger in the Hunters.