Monday, November 17, 2014

Feeling the burn

Halfway through No-Stirrup November! I've been ever diligent and doing my part to torture myself as expected. I did a ton of no-stirrup at the walk and trot last Friday night. My friend T asked me if I had ever done it at a canter which I said no, but of course I was game to try. Quest cantered, I stayed on, my thighs and core burned. Success.

All the no-stirrup work recently has re-inspired me to work on getting her more comfortable with bareback riding. Couple weeks ago I hopped on after a lunge session just to see- while Quest wasn’t rude, she was wary so I stayed on until she showed the slightest bit of relaxation, hopped off and gave lots of praise. T is letting me try out her bareback pad this week, so super excited to see if it works out for us. 

We had gorgeous weather again on Saturday, beginning to feel quite spoiled. When I got to the barn as per usual, I lunged her first before tacking up. The plan was to ride in the indoor for a little bit and then head out for trails.  I mounted up, asked her to move out and Quest started wiggling all over the place- nothing dangerous but I never felt her SO worked up before and questioning every request. After double/triple checking that her feistiness wasn’t anything tack or rider related, we settled to do a bit of walk and trot. Only when I felt her giving me her full attention that we headed out. On the trail she was great and even did some leading too.  


 After the trails, I wanted to see if Quest’s wiggling stemmed from doing arena work or needing a change of scenery. I decided to test the latter so we went into the full outdoor arena to see if it helped. Quest settled right down to work for the whole 30 minutes, listening and compliant. I also got a nice lower leg and core workout doing a ton of 2-point at the trot. That plus all the no-stirrup I did the night before did my balance a ton of good but left me feeling pretty wiped out.

So yeah, pretty sure Quest HATES working in the arena if we are inside two days in a row, but a change of scenery/being outdoors seems to improves her attitude. This is extremely telling and I’m taking this information to heart so I don’t find myself with a very arena-sour horse by the end of the winter. My current ride schedule has been 3-4 days a week with a day in between rides- it has been working out great and she’s always been eager to work every time.

Mares.

9 comments:

  1. yea... isabel can definitely get a little sassy if we have too many uber-focused working schools in a row - she likes to change it up a bit. this is trickier to manage in the winter with limited footing options... but that's life i guess. anyways glad Quest was a good girl out on the trails!

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    1. Quest really seems to enjoy the trails so far, now to work on her confidence! What do you do with Izzy to change things up?

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  2. I wouldn't interpret it as hating, but perhaps a little boredom. Like most Arabs i imagine she is very smart so unless you are introducing things that are challenging and engaging in the arena she may push buttons a little more. With Kash it seems he starts to say "OK, we've done that, but what happens if I do THIS?" Leg-yielding, shoulder fore, and eventually shoulder-in and other lateral work can make things more interesting for the quick-minded and athletic with the bonus of making her more ridable and engaged. The more I demand of my Arab boy in the arena, the better he is.

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    1. She is quite smart so boredom is very likely. Most of our rides have been with more casual riders so I sometimes feel a bit overzealous when I put Quest to work around them lol

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    2. Yeah, it can be hard to find ridding buddies who really want to WORK on a trail ride as many do it for a brain break or to relax. So long as the riding buddy is cool with it it's all good!

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  3. Stan always hated the arena, too. He'd pin his ears and swish his tail every time we worked in one; take him out and he'd perform the exact same maneuvers with happy ears.

    Q definitely gets bored easily and does best when I spice things up. RAPID transitions between gaits is what really gets that little girl working WELL and listening impeccably. W-T-Halt-Back-C-W-C-H-B...etc. Mix it up for Quest and see if you get the same!

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    1. That's a really good idea and reminder! We've schooled transitions before and she becomes much more attuned to me but when I'm NOT thinking about it consciously, my mind wanders and I let her go at a gait for too long...that's probably when she gets bored haha

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  4. Lily is also weird about being ridden bareback, but she is so agile I've been reluctant to try a bareback pad with her. Your girl is a rockstar!

    You have some great advice here already re: arena work. :) I love the Dressage 101 book; it has been a lifesaver more than once when I've been bored to tears with arena work in the winter! It has exercises ranging from the simplest of transitions and figures to upper level stuff, with diagrams and explanations on how to do the exercises and how it works the horse. Great book!

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    1. I figure we give the bareback pad a try and if it doesn't work out, no biggie! I don't know much about Quest's history but I'm really hoping her grumpiness wasn't because someone didn't do it nicely with her ):

      I hemmed and hawed about getting the Dressage 101 when I ordered the Arena and Jumping books- gonna add it to my Christmas wish list now!

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