Riding update

Great week, great progress!

She develops in spurts.  Sometimes it can feel like we’re stuck forever on something, and then there’ll be a week where everything seems just a bit better each ride.


Super fun and motivating of course!

I’ve had the hardest time to straighten her body going to the right, let alone actually bending her correctly to the right.  Serpentines, and counter bending on the long side has been very helpful.


The rhythm in the trot is getting a little better too.  Can’t help but get greedy and throw in some 10 m circles, and then of course the tempo is lost.


If I get the transition just right, not clenching down in the hips, she can do a pretty nice walk with a overstride.  I really have to try not touching her much there, or she stops swinging at all.


Curious to see the walk score in a test.  The free walk is still… fickle.


Have a wonderful weekend!


13 thoughts on “Riding update

      1. I hear you! I like to video as much as I can and take pictures. She really does look great! I am now paying closer attention to grays as Indy is a gray and I’m curious as to the shades he will go through!

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        1. They all seem to do it much at their own different pace. Valiosa was pretty much a Blue Roan at 3, then when I purchased her, and she started shedding in spring, there was a very fast color change to light grey. Her blaze can no longer be seen, even in the dark winter coat, at age 4 1/2.
          In my menu there’s an archive called The Hay Loft where you can qlick around a couple of minutes and see posts from last summer with a much lighter horse.
          It’s fun, isn’t it, to have them change like this!! 🙂


    1. Oh yey! OK, so we’re on the right track! Now, in the complete free walk, on the diagonal, I sometimes manage to give the reins all the way out to the buckle and she’ll at first feel like it’s going to be a great free walk. BUT, then she’ll completely drop and sort of think “yep, bus station here!.”
      Or, I leave just a few inches in the hands, trying to stay loose in the seat and active with the leg – erhm, while she sort of flounders and tightens up because there wasn’t enough freedom. It’s a balance game.
      We carry on 🙂


      1. Try just following with your hands with a light contact, rather than going to the buckle. In a test, it’s pretty hard to get the horse back together after that, plus they tend to drop their backs and sag, I find, if you completely throw it away. A light, following contact encouraging them to stretch down and forward, kind of like the trot stretchy circle, and asking for a longer, flowing stride at the same time. Play around with doing that, and then shortening the reins without disturbing the contact or the rhythm of her walk. It’s tough to do but great for both of you!

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    1. For me more so than for the horse, I’m afraid. She seems to catch on fairly quickly, but I myself am unable to let go of certain habits. Sigh. Like so many riders 🙂
      I really appreciate the feedback Dorothy


  1. These are lovely pictures! She engages very well and that should bode very well for her scores in walk all the way through the levels. What often happens in the early training is that they engage well when there is some rein contact but switch off on a totally free rein. The good news is that when you get to a level that you show extended walk instead, that is done on the contact and you will not get the same problem. So the more ‘advanced’ version of the exercise is almost easier!

    Training her extension in walk might help. Keep contact but feed out the rein until her muzzle is anywhere between her chest and knee height, as you do this close the calves softly and apply a gentle driving aid from the seat. Extension is closely linked to contact. Your contact looks lovely and soft so I doubt you’d be in danger of pushing her too much into the rein! Just aim to keep a soft connection through the bigger steps and reward her lots.

    One way to get this through into the free walk is to keep a hint of contact through progressively longer and longer reins. In short, use a higher level exercise to help a lower level one improve. I wrote a draft post about developing contact earlier today and will hopefully publish it tomorrow. It is the start of a series on contact related training issues. I will focus on contact and extension in more detail in one of them. Sorry for the long reply! Hope it makes sense though and helps!

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    1. Hey – never be sorry for a longer written reply!!
      I love any and all effort and time spent on me and this little mare – thank you!
      It all sounds promising.
      Most clearly, I DO give away the contact too quickly in the walk, afraid of “ruining” it to some extent, and the “feeding out” of the rein happens within less than two strides.
      Many of the horses I’ve ridden in the past have had a marching, loose, free walk, as long as I’ve kept an independent seat and followed with the hands.
      This mare, not so much, and it’s been an enigma to figure out how to get a nice response to the leg aids. Still is 😉 She’s the queen of sucking back.
      Looking forward to your Contact Post!!!

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