Thursday, October 8, 2009

Last Thursday's hack and Friday's mini lesson

I just did a really quick hack with Werther on Thursday. The extra training rides seem to really be helping Werther. He was much more responsive and round. The only thing I struggled with was the canter, it seemed flat to me and I just could not get the uphill quality I wanted. Sarah just found out on Thursday that she had a spot in the clinic, so with only one week until the clinic she wanted to put in some extra rides on Werther to get him a little stronger in his collecting muscles and a little more sensitive to the aids to do the 4th/ prix saint george work. Sarah came out on Friday, I groomed Werther. She got on and put him though all the movements you would see in a 4-3 or the PSG tests. She said he was a little stiff in the canter half passes, and she was having some issues with her rhythm in the tempi changes but not too bad, for a horse who has basically had a eight year break from upper level dressage. I got on him for a few minutes after Sarah was done and she gave me a mini-lesson. He definitely had more self carriage after Sarah rode him, but Werther was still a long way away from being hot. We got to start to play with lengthening and collection at the trot, and Sarah let me try the flying changes again, which were still a little late, but better than last time. The really cool thing about Werther is that most horses would be really hot to the aids after that kind of work, he never overreacted to anything I did, he was still very calm. It was a short ride for me, but very fun.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Exciting events on the horizon!

I had a mini vacation this weekend, I went to New York City to visit some friends. I saw Jude Law in Hamlet, a excellent production, I recommend it to any theatre junkies. Sarah worked with Werther while I was gone. She is going to be working with him a little bit more in the near future, Sarah's mare Sabrina is hurt, which really sucks. Since Sarah can't ride Sabrina in some clinic she was going to participate in, Sarah is going to take Werther, he is the only one of her regular rides that has the level of training to match Sabrina. The next one coming up is the Conrad Schumacher Symposium. She is definitely going to ride on Friday, and depending on if Conrad thinks he is a good demo horse, he will go back on Sunday. I'm really excited, it should be really cool to get feedback from such a well known trainer. I'm going to ride Werther in two three day Janet Foy clinics in October and November. I'm also going to attend (and hopefully riding a borrowed horse) a para-clinic in Maine at the end of October with Paulien Alberts. If Sabrina is still out of commission Sarah may also ride Werther in a Betsy Steiner clinic in November. I had a lesson on Tuesday, Sarah got on Werther again first. We were able to dive right in because I had the impulsion and roundness right off the bat. After a weekend off it took me a little bit to get into the rhythm of things but I felt like it was a pretty good lesson. We spent quite a bit of time practicing leg yields, it has been awhile since I have done those, I had a hard time finding a happy medium between being to restrictive with my hand, and still having enough contact to keep Werther round. I'll have to put these in regular rotation in my hacks, so I can get better.

New Strategies

I keep meaning to do a big post on my last show, but I have to get the photos from my Mom. I had a lesson on Tuesday after the show. Sarah and I are trying a new strategy, she got on Werther first, and work with him for about 15 minutes. The plan is that she gets him really jazzed up and listening, so I don't have to spend half the lesson establishing impulsion and I can have a better feel of where Werther needs to be all the time. It really helped, because Werther was going forward I was able to make smaller corrections. When Sarah rode Werther one of the last things she did was some two tempis. Sarah let me try some flying changes on Werther in the lesson which was just a blast. I've done flying changes on Werther before, but this was different because I had been doing changes the hunter/jumper way. using opposing leg and hand. With the dressage change you ask with your leg and your hand on the same side. It is going to take a lot to get my muscle memory switched over! Thursday's hack also had some change in strategy, but nothing that was planned. I decided to ride Werther outside, and as I was getting on I dropped my whip. Now if I were to get off and get back on again, it would probably take me awhile depending on how cooperative Werther would be about standing. So I decided to try riding without my whip and see how it would go. Werther was really lazy without it. I did coax him into a canter, and got up to two point and got into the worlds slowest hand gallop in an effort to get Werther jazzed up. I went back down to the trot, and it was much better. I took advantage of some ground poles someone had left out and trotted and cantered Werther over them in a little course. Werther hasn't been jumped in a long time but he had a lot of fun with the ground poles, especially when I took a longer line, he really got his eye on the poles and got excited. While it wasn't my planned ride, it was a good lesson in how to work with what you have.