Harmless Dilettante What I should have said was nothing.
I took Ferra and Penelepe again. Poor Winnie, she’s not getting the professional training time that she needs to advance. Still, I took her out on a trail ride on Monday. I’ll have to ride her this week end, so that she’ll get at least three rides in this week. Five is the usual number per week for horses in full training. In the past, I’ve shot for three each. This month, I’m going to up my goal to four each for Winnie and Ferra, but keep it at three for Penelepe. She’s just turned four and too much work will fry her baby brain. At least, it did last year. We’re going to start jumping training under saddle for her next week. I think constant repeatition of dressage training is making her a bit arena sour.
Today was supposed to be a jumping training day for both Ferra and Penelepe, but my trainer only had one wide tree saddle. Since I didn’t want to waste too much of my lesson switching out tack, we opted to just jump Ferra. I took her dressage saddle up to the indoor with the lunging equipment. Her rode over jumps in the outdoor arena and then we put on her dressage saddle so that I could work on my training level test.
I lunged Penelepe in the indoor and tried to sneak peeks of Ferra going over the little x and small verticle in the outdoor. She didn’t even bother to jump the x. I guess at 16.3 hands, it’s easier for her just to trot over it, especially since she’s very long legged. She made pretty minimal effort over the small vertical too. I don’t know what height it was. Maybe a foot, or a foot and a half? She keep tapping it with her foot, apparently insulted by its pathetic height. My trainer said that the really talentless ones sometimes don’t make an effort if the jumps are too small. That was certainly her case in the free jump chute. She did look magnificent cantering around after the jumps though.
When they were done, we switched horses. Penelepe was distracted for a lot of her lunging session. She was also trying to watch Ferra, plus deal with the antics of a very green six year old who was being lunged in the opposite end of the indoor. She and Penelepe keep working each other up.
Ferra was still very excited when I got on her. My trainer recommended lots of walk trot transitions, which we did. I need to really learn as many techniques as I can to calm Ferra down as new experiences and places tend to make her a handful. This is what I’ve got so far:
1. Walk her behind or next to a calmer horse until she calms down.
2. Walk-Trot transitions.
3. Circles, small ones if she’s trying to run away.
4. Leg Yields and shoulder in to keep her brain paying attention to me.
5. Lunging her until she calms down and walks.
Because she was such a handful, we ended up practicing the Training Level, Test One at the walk and trot with no canter work. My trainer had jump standards and some ground poles set up in the middle of the arena by e, so our circles there were pretty oddly shaped.
I finally got on Penelepe for about ten minutes. It was the first time I’d ridden her this week. At that point, Mo and Misty had joined us in the arena, so she was very excited. Again, we just worked on walk and trot in a 20 m circle. My instructor said not to worry about getting her on the bit, just concentrate on keeping her in a regular rythym and paying attention. I’m always conscious of keeping a solid contact on the reins these days, except for walking on a long rein, of course, perhaps I’m not as successful as I think in keeping them on the bit. I’ll have to check the mirror and shadows more often as I ride. At least my basic steering seems good most of the time. Riding a perfect circle is still an elusive goal, but I have gotten much better about riding deep into the corners.