Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winter training Journal 1

It's not officially winter yet, but I am so grateful that we have not had snow ( of course I may have just jinxed myself) because I have been fortunate enough to remain riding in my arena. I hope to continue to be able to do that into December.

It thought I would try journal my training sessions here , with the hopes that it will keep me accountable. Ofcourse, they may be spotty as the we get further into winter but we'll give it a go nonetheless.
Last evening I arrived home a bit early and saddles in a fury, knowing that I had just an hour to spare before dark. Once in the saddle, I spent a good 15 minutes at a walk, working on ...what else.. getting a JB soft and responsive through bending, lateral work, and maintaining long and low. Most of this was to warm JB up sufficiently, as the temperature was dipping. Hard to relax with cold muscles.
When we were were ready I asked JB into a trot. We worked on traveling in a long and low frame to start but after a few trips, I began to ask for him to soften through his poll and jaw. At the same time I encourage him for a bit more impulsion with a slight squueze and release pattern with my lower leg. For brief moments, the shape of JB's neck changes, his back lifts ever so slightly and his trot feels "springier". This is the beginning of him coming together into a frame. He doesn't hold it long, but it's definitely improved from even 3 months ago. We work on this as I move him into a figure eight using half of the arena. He is bending nicely into his corners (Ha!) without the resistance I had on Sunday.

I move him back down the straighline of the arena, and ask for a transition down into a working walk, working my finges gently on the reins to encourage him to "chew" the bit down so we do not drop into a walk with him bracing his back and popping his head up. JB partially hesitates and gets a bit bracey for a mement, but with a little squeeze of my leg and a little feel on the rein, he comes right back and is soft in my hands.

By now, the sun is down and the temperature has dropped. I spent a few more minutes working on walk, halt, trot transitions.

To be continued......

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