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.
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!
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.
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!
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?