Tune and tone with Rocky

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rocky’s been on pasture rest for most of the spring and summer, and has lost his topline and round haunches. I’ve developed a plan to exercise him on Tuesdays and Fridays, with the assumption that we’ll also play with him on at least one weekend day.

I’ve discovered that he and I are out of tune with each other, and since we both need to tone, I’ve named my program the “Tune and Tone” and am doing most of the exercises with him. So instead of me just standing around in neutral while he works out, I’m inventing patterns we can do together, with only short intervals of me not moving my feet. This means that he isn’t having to trot very much yet because I’m only good for two laps of jogging in the sand before I need to transition back to walking.

Today we power-walked around the ranch for our warm up and then went into the front arena to do this:

walk trot poles figure 8 pattern (1)

We started at the south edge of the arena. We walked north, traveled over four poles on the ground (I engaged my core!), then over half-barrels between two upright barrels, and then to the spools. There, I stood at the spool while he traveled around it and then I backed up to the other spool and directed him around that. As he came around the spool, I went with him so that we made a straight line down the arena back to the south edge. We then turned and headed north again, this time starting our figure 8 on the opposite spool. Thus, two circuits through the poles-barrels-spools made one complete pattern, and we rested along the east edge of the arena.

We ended more in tune than we began, and I have some strategies for making Friday’s session even better.

  • Slow down mentally: this is Rocky (RBI), not River (LBI).
  • Speed up physically: this is Rocky (16.1 hh and big gaits), not River (14.1 hh and small gaits).
  • Repeat the pattern with more confidence and consistency on my part so that Rocky gets a chance to learn the pattern and isn’t just following me around.
Categories: On-Line, Rockstar | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A saddle that fits

River’s new saddle arrived. I’ve ridden it in walk, trot, and canter, and it’s comfortable for both of us. I need to punch a couple more holes in the stirrup thingies — what do we call them when they aren’t leather? the stirrup Corduras? — because I feel myself reaching for the stirrup which rocks me forward off my balance point. BUT.

How snazzy is THIS?

river's new saddle

I also have been riding for a couple months in a Barefeet Physio Ride-On Bareback Pad, which not only has an underpad to lift the pad off the withers, it has the girth attachments lower down on the belly, where it’s not interfering with my leg. It also has really nice cushioning between my butt and her back. River is more willing and comfortable in it, and I’ve really improved my balance and stamina, becoming able to sit and post the trot for minutes at a time.

River in Barefeet pad

The past few months have been full of, well, life, and also death, and I’ve not kept my “ride every day that I’m in town” resolution 100%. I’m happy to report that I’ve kept it enough to continue gaining in confidence and skills even as my stamina goes up and down instead of just up.

The gains are coming from the hard parts (“Erin, how come I’m suddenly scared to ride outside the arena?”) and they are coming in small increments that every so often aggregate into a Visible Big Gain that makes me go “Huh! Look at that!” For example: After three or four sessions where River kept offering the canter and I kept saying “no thank you,” we finally had a day where River said “I wanna canter!” and I just went with it. And it was lovely and fun, and after a few moments to get myself settled, I was even able to steer and canter at the same time. Thank goodness I had the saddle by then…

Categories: Freestyle | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers