Thursday, November 16, 2023

Winter Work

 I know its still technically Fall, but it feels like Winter. The days are dark and short, its cold and wet, horses are bundled up in their blankets, and show season is over. Our rides lately have been more focused on finesse and flatwork, and less on jumping and course work. 

No stirrup lunge line lesson for No Stirrup November

We had our first lunge line lesson last week, and I was happily surprised at how well it went. Giving up control of the reins was hard for me, but a good 50% of the lesson was at the walk so it wasn't too bad. We started out with lots of stretching and rotating of body parts. Cinder was slightly confused with me waving my arms and legs around, but was more than happy to just walk a slow circle around A. She got more concerned once we started trotting and I flailed a little up there. I realized I haven't really done no stirrup work with her; I've done some at the walk but haven't trusted her up to this point to do it at the trot. Thankfully her trot is pretty darn comfy, and once she figured out she was allowed to do a western jog and I found my balance, we had a fun time. 

Just in case you think Cinder is all grown up now, she went on a hunger strike and refused to eat her supplements so now she gets a small scoop of candy with her grain.

About half of the IL horses in the barn were/are still in Thermal for their winter circuit and when they're gone not a lot of jumps are set. One of their at home assistants set up a fun little box exercise, with a one stride going up the center line, a bounce going across from E-B, and four single fences going diagonally out from the corners of the box. We played around with that configuration for a couple of weeks, doing the jumps as singles, then trying to angle them and do the two on each side as in and out. Cinder was very confused the first time we tried the angled in and out, but jumped no matter how poor my steering was. Once she figured it out she kept going for the direct two strides, instead of the bending three trainer A wanted me to get. 

She was in full blown heat over the weekend and was much more interested in where the other horses were than in working.

We also had lessons where Trainer A took the jumps down and we did different pole exercises. Walk poles, trot poles, canter poles, trotting into the box and halting before the trotting out of the box, etc. We even attempted a turn on the haunches in the box, which Cinder thought was very stupid. I told her to channel her 12.5% APHA pleasure horse blood, and she said no thank you, I prefer to go over the poles, not move my body around them.