Over the weekend I made a goal to get on Valeria every day this week. I should have consulted the weather report because I didn’t factor in for 93-95 degrees with 45-75% humidity and thunderstorms. My horses and I are all delicate desert flowers and absolutely zero riding or work has been done all week. Which really sucks because I had just geared back up for riding with 3 very solid, very good rides on Aria. V will have to wait until I can go outside and not get instantly soaked with sweat.
It does look like it’s going to be a bit cooler this weekend (I’m lying. I’m lying so hard but I need the fake hope to motivate me) so the plan is to get outside early and work our butts off to make up for the break. I had a lesson last week with Aria and P after over a month of not seeing either trainer. We didn’t do too badly and I was able to address a few issues I had developed while riding Aria.
Things like how to deal with her rooting. Now any time she roots I immediately ask her to back up in a 10 meter circle. It has done a pretty good job of shutting down that behavior and as a bonus is building up her back end. Alternately I also have to work on dropping her head when she’s ignoring the cue to collect and drop. This one is more difficult because I have to bring her head set up as high as it will go without putting any pressure on the reins and get her to collect enough with that we move at the smallest half steps possible. After a few moments moving like that she’s more than happy to drop her head for me when I ask. Granted these techniques are only needed when she’s really ‘hot’ from having a few days off because 98% of the time she’s a good baby.
She was a little stiff at the beginning of the lesson so we really worked on getting her to stretch and loosen her back. It was some walking and a far bit of trotting but the main focus was getting her to relax and work at a good swinging rhythm. We spent most of the lesson on a 20 meter circle working on shoulder in to shoulder out. Mentally it was a tough lesson for both of us.
It took me longer than I care to admit to get the timing and proper position down so that we weren’t running into fences as I transitioned. I was riding too deep into the corners before the shoulder out and it was pretty ugly for a while before I finally figured out how to time it all. 20 meters doesn’t feel very big when you are making a point to get a few strides of straight forward movement in between shoulder in and shoulder out to make sure your bends are good quality bends.
Before I knew it I had used up all my time (I was so spoiled by ambiguous lesson lengths!). I’m really looking forward to working on the things we did during my lesson, but until this humidity is gone, I think we’re going to stick to trail riding. 🙂