Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ride 84 - Video baseline for our trot work.

This post may seem long, rambling and boring, but please stick with it because there is a hilarious video you have to see.  :)

That bulge in my jacket is from having my hands in my pockets, not my fat Thanksgiving belly... okay maybe it's a little bit of both hehe.

Okay, one of the things on my list (see this post) is to take a video of your ride and then do another one a month later to show your progress.  I would like to get in the habit of doing that every month anyway just to track our progress, but I haven't because all we've been doing is trail riding.  Now that it's getting dark so early I will probably be riding in the pasture a lot more, so now is the time to work on some things like tempo because his irregular trot is so hard to post!!!

I'm really shy about posting videos of my riding because frankly I ride like crap.  I haven't taken lessons in eleven years and I haven't ridden a trained horse (other than western trail horses) in eight years or more.  I went several years without riding (horseless two years and three years waiting on Chrome to grow up) and then even when I started riding Chrome it wasn't much because I wanted to let him grow (hence why we are only on ride 83 even though I started riding him May 2012).  I have several bad habits like hunched shoulders, collapsed wrists, etc.  The saddle, his lack of tempo and my lack of practice means my leg and posting are horrible too.  In a dressage saddle I have a fairly good leg, but in the Aussie saddle it tends to swing.  I've gotten a bit better, but still nowhere near like it used to be.

People keep telling me to set up an arena in my pasture and start working him, but I have hesitated because honestly he's a pain in the butt to ride in the pasture.  He gets bored riding in his own turn out, so he constantly wants to go to the gate.  He likes riding in the front yard or out on the road.  He needs to get over it though because one day he will probably have the same opinion of arenas.  Tough cookies pony because we ARE taking lessons in the spring if I have to ride you across town to get there!!!

Some of the things he has done in the past include balking going toward the back of the pasture, speeding up going toward the gate, turns sharp going toward the gate, can't make gradual turns or circles, has no tempo or rhythm (which is why I can't post very well) and he isn't straight at all.  On circles he is counter bent and throws his shoulders inside or outside depending on where we are.  It's all green horse stuff that we just haven't worked on yet.  I hope I'm up to teaching him some of it!  When I was riding him tonight I could close my eyes and remember what it felt like to ride a dressage trained horse, so I'm hopeful muscle memory will help me out.

Oh and I'm riding him in the halter because I still haven't found a bit.  I'm thinking he needs a 6" bit....

So anyway I read this article and realized that one of the first things I needed to work on was his bracing.  I've done lateral flexion with him in the past, but it's been a LONG time and I haven't done it much in the saddle.  Since I mostly ride him on a loose rein I really haven't worked on teaching him to give to rein aids.  I also realized the one rein stop might help us with some of our other problems like speeding up, ducking, etc.  So I worked on it while standing still and then in the walk.  When I moved into the trot is when we started recording the video, which I left completely unedited.  Sorry it's long and boring, but it's mostly for my reference anyway.  Obviously if anyone has any tips I accept all advice, but please no criticizing because I'm aware of how bad we are right now.  :)

Anyway sorry for babbling.  Here is the video.

You can see one point where he curled his neck up and I thought he was going to take off or start crow hopping (at the time, watching it I don't think he was), so I did a one rein stop then I flexed him back and forth a few times.  It's hard to see what is going on sometimes, but I did the one rein stop when he would speed up (kind of like the cruise control lesson that some trainers do), try to duck out or was bracing really hard and refusing to go the direction I wanted.  I did a really bad job of alternating sides... oops.  I need to pay more attention to that.  I saw a HUGE difference in just these two laps, one in each direction.  Hubby's phone was dying, but after the video I did one more lap and then worked on circles and he did it!!  He's never been able to do circles back there!!  Since I don't have cones or an arena, they were all over the place and not totally circle shaped, but he wasn't trying to duck out or go to the front of the pasture.  :)  He was still really counter bent and his shoulders were all over the place but we can work on that.  During our next ride I'm going to work on teaching him to move off my leg at a stand still.  He needs to learn to listen to my leg.  That's been my fault and totally because of laziness.  I could have taught him from the very beginning to move off my leg and I didn't because it was boring.  Bad me!

I think that covers it all, so now to be less boring check out this hilarious video.

I love my herd!  They are so much fun.  :D  I'm so glad the goats are fitting in so well.  That video also shows a couple of others things from the list.  Me laughing out loud and me taking a video from Chrome's back hehe.  That's why it was kind of shaky and I kept saying whoa.  :)  Here are some pictures I took.

 The goats love chasing Jackal.  :D

 I let hubby carry my saddle hehe.

 Riding this boy makes Thanksgiving so perfect!!

 All of my hoofed boys in one picture!

I lost a stirrup!!  Luckily I was standing still.  I forgot to make sure they were secure after throwing them over the saddle while tacking up.

 Hubby knows how to entertain himself.  

He's also crazy because it was forty degrees and look at what he's wearing!!

Our shadow!

The ride was an hour long (there was a lot of work standing still, so the trotting part was probably only fifteen or twenty minutes).  Also I almost forgot to mention.  I've added something to my bucket list!  Ride my horse on all the major holidays!!  So far I've ridden him on Christmas in 2012 (in the snow!!), Valentine's Day and Memorial Day in 2013, New Year's Day, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving this year.  :D  So all I have left are Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Labor Day and Veterens Day.  Did I miss any??

So I had a perfect Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful for.  I'm mostly thankful for all of my boys (hubby, Chrome, Zep, goats, Jackal), but I listed other things on my other blog if you're interested.  :D  I hope you all had a fabulous day.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

P.S.  Stormy (my Siberian Husky that died in February) was on my mind a lot today, but I tried to remember to be thankful for the time I had with her instead of being sad that she's no longer here. I miss having her support for when all the boys gang up on me.  :)


  1. What a great post. I love all the video. You ride so much better than you think. Riding green horses is hard. It messes with your position and it's easy to start making excuses for babies. I think it will really help of you set up an arena. I remember last year when my now trainer came to help. I was kind of just riding Dickie wherever. She got after us and had me ride precise every time. I picked up some cones and used them even in the arena. I got my cones at one of the sports stores.

    1. Thank you! You are so sweet! My only problem is they mess with anything left out in the pasture so I can't do cones. I'm trying to think of something they can't move but they can't hurt themselves on either. Thank you for your kind comment.

    2. i agree i think you're doing lots better than you give yourself credit for hun! :D keep positive, love the videos and reading your post

    3. Thank you Amber!! I'll try to give myself some credit. I am my own worst critic in everything. :)

  2. Oh I completely forgot to mention two things. One is that a couple of times when I asked Chrome to flex he bit his girth and even pulled one strap loose... it was kind of funny although I felt bad he was so frustrated. The other thing I forgot to mention is that at the very beginning of the ride hubby rode him bike behind of trees and when he popped out the other side Chrome spooked. He swung his front end away in sort of a roll back and then walked away. It was bad enough it might have unseated me bareback, but in the saddle it was no big deal. :)

  3. aww your animals are so cute!! that video is great too - you'll be happy to have that as a reference point. like someone else said - you ride much better than you think. he's got a lot to learn, but you're starting from a great place! that field looks like a wonderful place to ride too. as you start to work more and more on the finer points of flat work, he'll be too mentally focused on you to get bored about endless circles :)

    1. Thank you Emma! I am definitely happy to have a reference point. I'm so bad about thinking I'm not making any progress which is one reason I'm so adamant about writing down every single ride. It allows me to go back and see how far we've come and help to keep me positive and focused. :)

      The only thing I don't like about my pasture is it is fairly sloped. It doesn't look like it is in the video, but it is. That's okay though. He will just need to learn to slow down and collect himself on the downhill side. When looking at the line of pine trees in the video it slopes downhill to the right. There are some decently flat spots for getting in some twenty meter circles though. Oh and hubby said he will use cinder blocks and saplings to make me an arena. :D Yay!


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