Thursday, August 20, 2015

Big and Fast, Slow and Small

Tuesday night the red-mare and I set forth to the riding ring to work on some lateral and dressagey work (dressagey is a word, right?). We hadn't schooled in the ring for about two weeks, so I wasn't certain how productive the ride itself would be.

She has a pretty good amount of reach for such a short horse.
Unfortunately, we didn't have the best schooling session and had to work through a lot of resistance issues (namely due to the new bit I was trying out). Suzie felt very, very fresh which in itself was a good thing, but also a hindrance during the times I was trying to get some good lateral work in. At first, I attempted to focus on Dressage work - diagonals, leg yields, 20m circles, etc - but the mare would have none of it. She was listening and complying, but she just felt like an electrical cable... ready to spark at any moment.

We did get some good moments in the Dressage work but she didn't seem like she settled very much. Her steps were quick and short, and she certainly was not reaching over her back. She felt fractious and kept tripping over her own feet. Instead of fighting about it for much longer, I quickly moved into our Reining work.

By this time I noticed Suzie was literally dripping sweat, it was just rolling off of her and down her chest. We had hardly done any real difficult work and it wasn't necessarily hot out. The tenseness and resistance just oozed out of her in the form of sweat. I remember when Geronimo used to be like that... any amount of nervousness and he'd just sweat buckets.

This is her "I LOVE RUNNING" face. Ears pricked and a
pep in her step. Yea, I think she likes Reining.
 We ran through the pattern for the show three times and I managed to get some good, calm work from her but I could feel she was still amped up. She was blowing hard, but I don't believe it was because the work was difficult - I simply think she was just over-reacting and being a bundle of hotness. Her walk felt like she would break into a jog at any second and her eyes were wide and expressive. She had that "gawking" look to her, much like a two year old in a new setting would.

I took some video and some of the things that jumped out to me to fix were:

- When making a big and fast circle, I need to have her GO. The lope in the video had little to no difference to her small and slow circle.

- Slow down her small and slow lope. She needs to show a difference in the gait and I need to remember to prepare for this at least 2-3 strides out from the center. Do not wait until 1/2 of the small and slow circle goes by to get it right.

- In the spins, use the outside leg to push her over but be careful that she isn't doing a turn on the haunches. Open the rein and make her pivot.

- Remember to SIT DOWN during the stops and in the rollbacks. Push down into the stirrups and remember to collapse through your spine as if you are deflating. Do not lean back in the saddle - the stop will NOT work.

- Always keep looking around through your turns.

- Pulling back on your inside rein during the lope will not drop her head (idk why I keep doing this!!). Need to ask by lifting the reins UP and bumping with the legs.

See what happens when you actually LIFT your reins and use your seat?
Ah, things start to come together.
I called it a day after playing around with our roll-backs (which suck) and we carried on home for the evening. Mare was hosed down, fed her mash, and turned out. It was a pretty shitty ride, but I suppose those do happen and tomorrow will be another day?

I've also decided to switch back our bits because I figure, why change up a good thing that was working? Especially so close to show time. We have seven more days left before we haul out for the BVX - no pressure.


  1. You guys look awesome! You've got this. No doubt.

  2. She looks so keen and serious about her job in those pics! I agree with HB - you guys look great :)

    1. She certainly has a lot of fun... still looks a bit for the barrels but I think she realizes her new job now.

      Thank you!

  3. great pictures!! sounds like even tho it didn't feel like a 'great' ride you still got a ton of useful takeaways from it in regards to prepping for your show!! good luck!