Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall is here!

...which means the horses are WILD again!

Just kidding. Kind of. No need to invest in an XC vest or a new helmet (aside from just plain wanting a Charles Owen) but there was a little "overexuberance" in the jumping lesson I taught on Sunday, and the normally half-asleep QH I rode today was VERY alarmed by the deer out on our hack. And let's just say he was definitely feeling the cooler weather when I asked for a 'little' canter going up a hill in a big open field...whooeee!!

I love the change in seasons and I'm so happy that perfect hacking weather is coming around again. I have at least one student who likes riding outside so maybe I can convince a few others to spend the whole day riding outside with me.

Now let me say that I draw a  line between "hacking" and "trail riding." I'll trail ride every once in a while, but something about riding in closed-in, wooded areas with lots of sticks that could impale me and bee nests that my horse could step on (true story, this happened one of the first times I rode ever) just doesn't appeal to me. But give me a big open field or a mowed lane next to a field and I am happy as can be. I usually start with the regular kind of warming up I'd do in a ring--walk and trot circles, leg yields, and then I just let go and run at the canter. Too fun.

Today's ride was definitely not my best though. Shadow was not moving off my inside leg (unless you count a rushy, nervous trot) and kept falling in and bulging his shoulder slightly. Compared to the drafts, it was nothing because he actually responded to me trying to get him straight again, but it kept happening.

I'm noticing that a LOT of the drafts do have that bad habit, except of course they have the strength to just ignore me. The problem might also be related to the way I ride or the way I'm having the students ride. So I'm going to take some lessons on Shadow (the QH) to figure out how to deal with it. Hopefully it will be a baby step to dealing with the drafts, because honestly I'm just kind of blindly throwing darts trying to fix the problem. (Okay, okay, I haven't ridden the schoolies for 2 weeks but I have been brainstorming, reading and teaching.) Forward, straight, and kicking on the offending bulgey side are all well and good, but when none of that works...what then?

I'm hoping that a combination of lessons for me and getting the horses forward and beginning to stretch on the longe will help. We'll see I guess...any suggestions for "offending bulgey shoulder-itis" are more than welcome.


  1. It's probably not "correct" riding, but when Kieran bulges his shoulder at me, I find myself tapping it with my crop to help get the idea across that I don't want that. Mostly I think I just don't have the leg yet to get him to really bend properly.

  2. I've tried that response from Rurik. Another thing I might try is just to ride him outside to get "forward" and then maybe straightness will be easier.