A ride in the life of Foster

Another blog hop from Viva Carlos… about what’s going on right now.

Yesterday I mentioned in my post, and to the husband, that Foster finally feels back on track from a dressage perspective. Imagine my surprise when he asked me what I was doing (Gosh I love him!). So in the interest of him, and Viva Carlos, here’s a typical ride for us recently.

No recent riding pics, so here are random filler photos for you :)

No recent riding pics, so here are random filler photos for you 🙂

After the dressage clinic, I’ve been continuing to focus on a deep, round connection through the working gaits. I personally like to start each ride with a long (15 minutes usually) walk warm up, which generally consists of a couple laps just mosying around, followed by several minutes of a very deep working walk, maybe some walk/halt transitions to get him ‘keyed up’ to my seat, and then lateral work (serious haunches in or leg yields). In the walk, I’m able to break my aids down and focus on key elements (connection, seat, straightness) before moving up into trot or canter. I think it helps my brain warm up as well as him!

photo 3 (6)

After this I will start with some stretchy trot, and generally because he’s a little lazy, move him into a stretchy canter pretty quickly. For the stretchy canter I get off his back, encourage him to take the rein, and do giant laps around the arena. It gets him thinking forward and releases any tension in his back quite nicely, even if I look feel like a bit of a yahoo doing it.

His head looks huge from this angle!

His head looks huge from this angle!

Finally, I start working on whatever the day’s goal is. Since it’s the week before the show, I’ve stopped doing any kind of leg yield at the trot, since he gets so sensitive to it, it’s easy for me to get him lateral going down centerline- a big no no! So instead we’ve been doing lots of transitions between gaits, mock centerlines, and circles, focusing on him not leaving his butt behind. This is definitely getting better, along with the canter transitions. They’re still not perfect, but there’s some improvement to be sure!

Ran out of Foster pics, sorry.

Ran out of Foster pics, sorry.

My biggest concern that has come out of the last couple rides is his very active mouth. We used to have trouble with bracing, and this feels more like constantly playing with the bit. I notice he gets quieter when I sit than when I post, and I wonder if I’m being a bit more active with my hands when I post which is translating to his mouth. We’ll see if he does it at the show, and whether I decide to post or sit our test will be completely dependent on how he feels that day!

So that’s our routine, which last about 40-45 minutes on average. How long do y’all ride? What’s your warmup routine, and what are you guys working on these days?

11 thoughts on “A ride in the life of Foster

  1. Your horse is stunning! He is such great shape. 🙂

    I’m working on riding in my wedding dress at this moment haha (wedding is May 16 – eek!) but after that I need to focus on a better routine for improving rider and horse fitness and feeling more confident on the trails.

    • Thanks!

      Oh my goodness- riding in a wedding dress! That sounds super exciting and will surely make for some really special photos!

      I definitely have confidence issues on the trails- something for me to work on too!

    • Normally when I think about riding it’s more organic, so I enjoyed the realization and exercise of discovering that I do indeed have a method for the madness!

  2. Well right now I am sidelined BUT typically a ride that is not a lesson looks like this: tack up, lunge, get on and walk for a bit, then we go to a trot and I work on keeping his brain engaged- changing direction, circles, using the whole arena… Sometime I will canter a bit before the trot to loosen him up. I try to do most of my hard work at the trot after he is ready since that is where we tend to get the best workout 🙂 I also like to work on crisp transitions.

    I always end my rides with a long loose rein at the trot and canter and let him stretch 🙂

    Then I always cool out at the walk for a while before I hope off and untack/beautify him 🙂

    • And you have a great reason for being sidelined! 😀 I think it’s great that you’re keeping him going with the free lunging! Go Henry!

  3. I have that problem when posting.. have you tried grabbing hold of a bucking strap to steady your hands? You don’t have to use it all the time (I don’t), but it might show you if that’s why he’s being more active with his mouth when you post or if it’s something else.

    P.S. I love the picture of the cats. So cute!

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