Other Hard Things We’re Working On

We’re not in bootcamp, but Valiosa may be starting to think so.

Each ride, she has to go at least half-way correctly, at least half of the time.  Annoying to her, and hard work, since she usually gets to tourist-around and work more on own terms 🙂 here and there.

sitting straight while riding on the circleEmpress Plum Pudding would rather do some type of Western Jog than this.

One change in her is a better, softer, trot and once she turns on the motor behind a lot of the “tweakiness” finally goes away up front.  Well, yeah, go figure, we all know that’s how it works, but it would take me soooo long to figure out in each ride how to “arrive” there with this horse…  And then start over from scratch again the next ride.

New task is to half halt more.  Half halt quicker.  Half halt and not holding.  OK, how about just half halting!!?  And pushing the hands forward to soften, while keeping her on the outside rein.

allowing the horse to canter freely forward
Nice little hind leg pumpin’!

Straight stretchy trot can happen, small miracle.

horse stretching in trot

Overall (ignoring another huge problem: keeping the hand closed.  Maybe next year.) aids have to be quicker.  Quicker half halts, quicker to give, quicker leg, and quicker transitions.  Little syrupy preparations take too long, we amble around too much.

Riding with the leg off will go a long way.  Would be great to reprogram to never touch with the leg unless it’s an actual aid – impossible now but refusing to give up!

overbending the horse neck to the inside

Also super difficult:  Straight with just the right flexion.  I either get too straight or overbent, especially to the left.  But she is softer, so I’ll take it!

Only 4 rides left of “more focused training.”  It’s been luxurious, to have help at every ride.  Spoiled.

dressage with andalusian cross horse

Show you more next week!

Here’s Where She Is In The Training Now

Definitely looser, a little more over the back.

Monday morning is starting off with a bad calf strain for me, so no riding this morning.  On again tomorrow.

white horse in dressage

As promised, today is a quick peek at where Valiosa is in her training.  We still do strange tweaky things but overall, she’s made a huge change in the past two weeks!

horse falling out on volte
Salt Box Mare – falling out of her box.

Once she comes off the inside leg aid instead of pushing against it, we come together more like one package.  Awesome when it happens!

canter with small white horse

dressage with gray horse

Last week I had her teeth floated again, and she had an overall vet check.  It’s helpful to have another eye check her gaits – easy to become “home-blind” right?!  She passed various flexing and prodding – wonderful!

pushing the hand forward in canter

Had her on Pentosan for some time, just to help out, but never noticed a hugely significant difference.  Has that happened to you?  Trying another series soon, to help protect as much as can – hoping for many years with this mare – at 6 ml instead of 5.

She’s already so much softer just from working better!

riding with looser rein in canter

Have a great start on your week!

Contact At The Walk

The walk with Valiosa has been more difficult than I ever thought it would be.

Especially when there are so many other, hard, things to work on. But she really wants to stay resistant in the walk.  Short stride, pushing back, strung out or more tense and upright.  Get the walk right, and she’ll feel fantastic.

Been lucky to be able to pull off a focused instruction period – 16 sessions, back-to-back, which is a huge change in consistency when you do most training on your own.

It’s awesome!  Halfway through now, can’t wait to see where we get in the next two weeks.

medium walk contact at first level

Getting her just a little more listening to the leg, quicker, straighter – this is the twistiest horse ever – and softer in everything.  But it’s the walk that tips off if she is between the aids in the beginning.  Or not.

contact when riding at the walk

Fingers crossed I’ll be able to get her to the same feel on my own when we go back to training alone most of the time…

Sure you’ve been there too – fantastic lessons where your horse feels fabulous.  Then we’ve got to figure out how to get back there.  I’ll show you pictures next week of how she’s coming along!



Trending Mare Things That Need To End Now

Mare Habits

  • Snubbing almost every supplement.
  • Sniffing the manure shovel and then spooking at it.
  • Sharting when you pick the hinds.
  • Slobber-muzzle rubbing across clean shirts.
  • Standing heat.
  • Scrubbed tails, where the top ends up looking like a pine cone.



Spanking new supple stirrup leathers make up for it all!  Soft and awesome!  Pinecone tail in the background…

supple stirrup leathers

News From The Farm

Last month had the first weeks of “quiet” at our training barn.

Between 18-20 horses with trainers, grooms, owners, and some riders moved out.  Around 25 lucky ones still there (Can’t keep track.) and between all the activities, it wasn’t all that quiet after all 🙂

riding without other horses in the arena

Barn management does a fantastic job keeping a clean, well-run facility, and prep work before shows starts days before.

In May alone, there was a 2-Day jump show.  Then a 3-day dressage show.  Then another 3-day dressage show.  With riders coming in early before the show and all sorts of prepping, weeding, cleaning and lights installed in the portable show stalls for the season.

Great stuff –  we need lots of that while schooling!  To stay focused with distractions around, you’ve got to have some distractions.

Other news; a short-term training opportunity for Valiosa and I this month.  Very exciting, and definitely not planned for earlier in the spring.  More later!

She had 5 days off since I got really sick, and then sort of pathetic work since it’s hard to ride when you’re still sick…  Today:  Day 10 – Fresh start!

Rice Puff says Hi!

rice puff horse