Friday, February 26, 2016

Spring is right around the corner...

and that means warmer weather and finally having a rideable ring rather than an ice rink. I was so excited to be able to take a change of clothes with me to work and go through the routine of riding and working on all that homework we have.

Tillie and Krimpet arent so sure they like this

I found myself driving to the barn feeling butterflies which I have a hard time sometimes separating if its anxiety or excitement.  Excitement because I can actually ride my horse at home and not haul somewhere, but anxiety because I have only been riding her in lesson setting right now.

Its really easy to get used to that and become reliant on that instructor coaching you through everything. So I was a bit worried at trying to reproduce what we have been getting in our recent rides all on our own.

Tillie says Im Ready! 
Walking down to the ring you could tell Tillie was a bit oh we havent been down here in a while, whats this thing, whats that thing. But she wasnt spooky at all and was her usual consistent self she has been as of late.

I made her stand for a while after getting on her since shes gotten a bit quick to walk away when I mount lately...Im not a huge stickler for has to stand all the time, but I also dont want mounting to turn into a game of vaulting.

Look a ring that isnt frozen! 
I got on a did my usual walk on a loose rein for a while and figure out what areas were still frozen, too sloppy wet and dry enough for some of what I had planned. Tillie acted like an old seasoned pro and just went along wherever I wanted.

I picked her up to work and she was a bit reluctant and did some rooting and lost some tempo in the walk so I heard the voice in my head that said walk and get a soft rhythmic walk before trotting. It didnt take all that long and I did push into a trot. I noticed right away that Tillie was much less stuck like she has been when first trotting lately and more willing to go forward without the head tossing. In fact she didnt at all until after two or three circles I picked up contact and started asking with inside leg for bend.

Happy to be back in work! 
I tried to emulate what we worked on the day before in our dressage lesson and found either she was much easier to get the exaggerated bend OR I was settling with what she was giving without C there to push for more. Either way, it felt great to me and I did a bit of testing of the bend and connection with some changing rein/serpentines and counter bending.

I continued warm up with the spiral in and leg yield out exercise C had us do before walking to give her a break. I made sure to not let her head dive or root before allowing her full freedom to stretch.

After a quick rest I picked her back with not as much apprehension from Tillie and did a few walk trot walk transitions to make sure she understood and asked for a bit bigger trot. I tried to focus on widening my hands, thumbs up and keeping that bend. I really didnt notice any head wagging so hoping it helped!

I decided to go ahead and canter before sitting trot to really make sure she was warmed up through her back...and she gave me a nice transition both ways. I worked on getting her soft in the canter with the idea of bending her more around my inside leg like C had us doing at the trot...I did the same circle exercise in canter which really produced a nice easier to ride stride.

Kisses with herd mates 
I couldnt do too much more in the canter since our ring is still partially frozen limiting to me about half the ring, so I decided to leave that where it was and tell Tillie what a good girl she was and ask for some stretchy trot both ways. I tried to make sure I was sitting tall and not trying to stretch for her by leaning which would only put her on the forehand.

She still doenst quite give me as much as I want, but by a few circles into it she was starting to follow the contact without being so rude about it.

To end, we did work on lengthenings again and it was by far the highlight of our ride. I was expecting a similar response to our lesson the day before with a few blips and general going forwad but not letting go...the first two were very much in line with that. But after that we had a few REALLY impressive ones (at least they felt that way) where I felt a lifting feeling and it was a fine line teetering between breaking into canter or not pushing enough.

Tillie was so into it and so responsive and willing to come back to a more modest trot I was so impressed. We called it a night after that :)

Heres to hoping we are on the way to spring sooner than later!!!


  1. Yay! I love it when things fall into place.

  2. the arena was in great shape last night too!! (there were def horse eating gremlins tho, haha). so excited at the prospect of riding regularly at home again!

  3. Yay for a mostly thawed out arena! :) I get those butterflies sometimes too.