Feb 7, 2012

Watching the competition


Too cold and windy to ride. I took Dharla down to the arena to do a little ground work. More moving the hindquarters, forequarters and backing up. She’s getting very responsive to my requests and relaxing more and more. I lunged her (at a walk) on a medium length line and practiced our stops and getting her to turn in to face me and give me both eyes. I think she was taught to whoa and just stop where she is, not turn in and face the handler. We also worked on getting a nice change of direction and quick departure. Once she got the idea of what I was asking she did well. Better counter-clockwise than clockwise today. She seemed pretty relaxed even though it was quite windy and we could hear Bullet hollering up on the hill. Silly boy!

In a previous post I talked about putting my horses on a couple of dietary supplements. The products I’m trying are to target specific concerns, but the more I think about it the more I’m thinking I might consider putting both horses on an all-around vitamin & mineral supplement. Neither horse gets or needs a lot of grain and I’d rather switch them over to oats, which means I’ll need to add some supplements anyways, so I might as well get them used to eating it while I can still add it to their regular grain. I’m not looking to throw money at a supply company, but I do think they’re probably lacking a bit in this department.

And while I’m on that subject, I wonder how many horse riders spend as much time making sure they’re in as good of shape as their horses? I mean, we know regular exercise and conditioning is important for our horse’s health and performance, but what about us? I’ve been a weightlifter for slightly over 32 years … long before weight training was in vogue for women. And along with weight training I’ve followed a regular cardio and stretching routine for equally as long. I know all that sounds like a lot of work, but I’ve got my exercise program pretty much down to a science and it doesn’t take up that much time. I like to think of it as making an investment in myself because if I’m not healthy then who’s going to take care of (and ride) my horse?

So in light of that thought I’ve decided I’ll notate my own training at the bottom of this blog. It will be in lift-speak, which is to say that I’m not going to write everything out because I know what it means and that’s all that really matters.

RTM: 4/415c/40m, S, Y

3 thoughts on “Feb 7, 2012

  1. Yes!! I spend so much time trying to encourage my team riders to get fit: I suggest specific exercises to target specific issues in their riding, and then overall fitness to get them to make it easier on the horses. Unfortunately some of these kids can only be motivated by giving them a sob story about the plight of their horses and how hard they work to tote them around…

    Interesting reading your thoughts on lunging–I much prefer a horse that stops where it is when you say whoa, and comes in only when you ask it to. I find them easier to ask to reverse and less likely to turn in and face you as a crutch when they don’t want to move out or go forward. Then again, I also do some teaching on the lunge, and it can be quite disconcerting to both teacher and student when the horse wheels around to face the teacher every time.

    • Agree with TWL as, when my younger horse turns in, like green or less trained horses, due recent accidents = less physical fitness, I am alarmed to find myself feeling a little afraid/threatened. As I have no confidence problems once mounted, I’ll admit I spend little time on in-hand work, though I feel I should – and enjoy hearing about the way you use it to help you, R. Basically I know I need to get back to regular work to address …er, everything!

    • It just seems like common sense to me that the better shape I’m in the better rider I’ll be. Quicker to act and react and roll with whatever happens. Unfortunately, as we age we start to lose our coordination and balance. You don’t really notice it much at first because it’s not like we do that much in everyday life that’s so challenging. But riding is a different story and I think it shows up more quickly there. And like you said, no point in making your horse carry more of a load than it needs to!

      About the lunging. I don’t want my horse to come in. I want her to stop, turn and face me if I cue her to do so, then wait for my next cue. I want her to stay out until told to move in toward me or change direction. I want her to face me IF I cue her to, or stop without facing me if I don’t cue her for that. Right now she has a beautiful whoa and stops and holds her place. Now I want her to turn and face me when asked. The end goal is that she can do both. 🙂

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