Monday, February 12, 2018


I decided to try only cantering every other ride, so when we do it we are setting up for success and building the correct muscle memory.  On the off days we'll try to do some light conditioning to help with fitness.  Even though Cupid looks pretty fit (we're still building the top line), he does seem to get out of breath pretty easily!

I'm also trying to be better about doing stretches with him; we will do them for a few weeks then kind of stop.  We're having a little trouble with the carrot stretches though, he keeps twisting his head instead of bending his neck.  Maybe I need to start with the carrot closer?  My chiro said hold it at the hip but I usually go several inches forward and out from there.

Not very bendy
How do I keep his head straight?
A little better to the right
Since we did a jumping lesson on Friday, I did "conditioning" work on Saturday, involving walking and trotting up our little hill.  It's not very big, but better than nothing.  And Cupid was puffing a little by the time he trotted up.  Then we would walk the long loop back around.  We finished by walking a big loop around the property.  I think even just walking on different terrains is useful.

Not much of a hill, but we make do
On Sunday I was able to ride in the dressage court again.  Cupid is still more alert there than in the covered arena, but he's definitely gotten less spooky.  When I'm not in lessons I usually spend about 10 minute walking to start; first on a longer rein then gradually shorten.  Then I do some shallow serpentines (rail to centerline) and maybe a 20 meter circle each direction before picking up the trot.  I do the similar in the trot.  For lessons my trainer usually has me canter at this point, but left to my own devices I usually do a walk break first, then do another short trot before picking up the canter.  We picked up the right lead canter on a 20 meter circle at A, went down the rail to E and did another 20 meter circle, then cantered down the rail to B and did another circle.  We kept cantering to K, when down the diagonal, dropped to a trot around X and picked up the left lead right before getting back on the rail at M.  Success! :)  Big praise for Cupid, then we did similar circles and going on the rail to the left.

We took another walk break, did some more trot work, and another canter set.  This time we weren't able to get the left lead first try, so I put Cupid on a circle and we got it the second attempt, but he dropped to a trot where there was a dry spot in the footing.  It took a few tries to get the left lead again.  Generally it seems easier to get earlier in the ride, when Cupid is more fresh.  But we were able to get it, and he feels good when he's cantering.  We did a little more trot work, then walked a loop around the property to cool off.

On Monday we had a no canter day, so I walked up the gentle slope of our long driveway twice.  Mondays are a good day for this as usually I'm the only one there aside from staff.  Cupid was a little distracted wanting to look at all the construction beyond the fence, so I tried to get his attention by asking him to bend the other direction, away from it, then straight a few steps before asking him to bend the other way.  We walked a big loop around to finish.

1 comment:

  1. Aw my horse loves carrots stretches! I honestly am not sure there's really a wrong way to do them, either. I'll move the carrot around - down and out to the side of his front legs. Up high and to the side. To his elbow, to his mid belly, to his hip. Between his front legs. Way out in front of him. It's all about that range of motion with gentle stretching!!