From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two very different rides

Yesterday, Mom and I went to HHF for a ride. We only went in two of the fields since it was getting dark and the bugs were out. We did a lot of "ring work" in the first field...circles, bending, moving off my leg, half halts, etc. He kept the trot really well and kept a nice tempo. He usually starts off slow, breaks, the goes fast, and so on for the majority of our ride. He actually listened to my seat and legs better than usual. After a while, we went to the seond field and picked up a canter. It was a nice surprise when he kept it the entire long side of the field and most of the way up the hill! We are getting closer and closer to the top of the hill each time we go! We cantered a bit in each direction then did a bit more trot work. He was sweaty so we had a nice gentle walk to cool him out.

Today was my lesson with my aunt. It was really an eye-opener. We worked on lengthening his stride and keeping him straight. I never realized how crooked he moved until he was actually going straight! He leans a lot on my left rein and I, unknowingkly, encourage it and support it by lowering my hand and making it dead weight for him to lean on when he gets unbalanced. This explains why he falls through his corners and turns his head to the outside going to the right. I really have to focus on lifting my left hand and keeping it even with my right hand so I can give him even pressure on both sides of my body. We worked on half-halts and having him wait for my cues. We brought him down to nearly a walk and then pushed his hind end to the front of his body and making him stretch more undreneath himself. This lengthened his stride. Now I have to put it all together at once! We did A LOT of trotting. Pretty much non-stop for 20-30 minutes! He was definately sweating so I cooled him out by walking him around the street then hosing him down. He was sucha  good boy!

Tomorrow the family and I are going to water country! I want to hop on him for a quick ride when we get back so he doesn't get stiff after a hard workout.

-Em and Jet