I was excited to ride today. It seems like forver since I just got walk out my back door and ride with our crazy, feels like I live in the PNW weather lately. The temperatures have finally stayed low enough that the ground is frozen, halle-fricken-lujah, no MORE mud!!! The high today was 45 and I made the mistake of waiting until late in the afternoon. That gave the ground long enough to get nice and sloppy. I had hoped it would still be firm but as soon as I walked into the pasture I could hear that was not the case. Slish, slosh...that is just asking for slipping and sliding. So I came up with a plan to do a nice long walk warm up then do a few trot sets in very large circles and no quick turns. We went over the trot poles a few times just to get his heart rate up a little. I slowly walked him up to a tiny little cross rail and let him trot the last two strides then asked him to walk within a couple strides after. He could use alot of slow non rushing jumping exercises. Then the other direction we had one of his typical moments of rebelion, run off after the jump flipping his head to avoid giving me any sort of control, bunny hopping and thinking about rearing as he is going in 5 different directions. I am going to just expect at least one of these moment every single ride over the winter months that way I am not disappointed by his outbursts. I think the unavoidable contributing factors are not having consistent hard work outs along with cool weather makes a TB feel GOOOD/naughty! The rest of the ride was at a walk. Turns on the forehand, leg yeilding but Steady can get kind of annoyed if we spend too much time on tedious, redundant work. So then I came up with an exercise that I think we will be doing A LOT this winter. I have never been told to do this but I could see right away how much this will help us with our jumping. It was all done at the walk which means it is something we can do almost all winter long in any footing. So simple but exactly what I think Steady and I need. I can see this one simple exercise being the key to Steady and I having a very successful season come springtime. What is this exercise you ask?
Well get ready to not be blow away....we...spent about 20 minutes straight...walking...in...straight...lines! Wow, right?! I would focus on an distant object like a fence post or tree. It could be at any angle but the goal was to make an accurate, straight angle turn and focus on the object and riding 100% straight on to it. Then focus on a new object and continue for 20 minutes. As strange as it may be I really, really enjoyed this exercise and Steady did not seem annoyed like he can get with tedious things that don't involve alot of forward movement. It is my new favorite and I can't wait to see how much it helps us after doing it for a couple of months. I am imagining a much straighter horse and rider making accurate turns. Having the ability to ride straight to a jump and that is exactly what will make us rock the XC course at, at least BN next year.