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

Monday, August 2, 2010

Groundpoles, Hills, and Improvement

Yesterday while Mary-Kate was over, I set up some ground poles in the ring to work Jet over. We did our walking warm up and went into the trot. At first, he was super confused on how to get over them. He would jump them, try to avoid them, almost step on them, but by the fourth time around, he got it. He started trotting over them PERFECTLY! We did this in each direction for a while. He started asking for connection on the bit, and he was moving straighter than he normally was. I was thrilled with the ride so far and decided to ask for the canter. We trotted the first ground pole, picked up the canter over it, then cantered the second pole (it was set up as a bounce). He got the hang of this and thought it would be more fun to pick up the canter before the first one and just canter the poles so we did that a few times in each direction as well! I noticed that when we did this, it helped with his canter transitions and the quality of his canter aswell. It was a more distinct three beat. I think that he was more balanced and listening to my seat so I could help him more which resulted in a nicer canter. We then practiced for the Mint Julip Class which we will be in at the fair on Friday. This is when you hold a glass of water and go around at the walk and trot and the person who has the most water at the end of the class wins. It was... interesting. Once a bit of water fell on him, he thought the cup was the cup of doom and was trying to run away from it. I eventually ran out fo water but I kept the cup in my hand and practiced riding with it empty. He calmed down after a while so I called it quits. After our cup of water expedition, we went for a walk around the street. my street is a horse-shoe with hills on both sides of the U. So we went up and down the hills at a walk a few times to help develop his hind end. I hosed him off and let him have a bit of grass once he was cooled out for being such a good boy!
Today I wanted to accomplish a few things.
-Getting underneath himself
-Me controlling the pace of the trot
- and Practice barrels for the barrel race this Friday

Let me tell you, he BLEW ME AWAY today. I don't think he has ever been so straight or round before. It was really really nice to ride but I felt like we weren't forward enough. I had him coiled, slow, and round, but I needed to take that and lengthen his stride more. I think he wa s abit behind my leg. Something to work on tomorrow.. Anyways, He was getting into the corners, listening to my leg and seat, and asking for connection to the bit again! We did alot of walking and trotting then practiced the barrels. I did it three times at the walk at first(sitting trot home). I think the more I do it, even at a walk, the more he will remember the pattern and he will know what to expect. We then did it at a slow sitting trot(posting trot home), then at a posting trot (canter home). after a few times, he knew that once I turned him into the fence then turned him around, it meant go time! his ears perked up and he was off! I gets excited when he has fun! We trotted the first one, cantered around the second one, trotted to the third, then galloped home. I did this once more then called it a day. We went for another walk around the street then I hopped on him bareback to help me feel how he moves. He was really good and did a longer trot than the last time we trotted bareback. He was such a good boy! I cooled him down, practiced a bit for in-hand, then let him eat some grass. Gotta love my boy! So, goals:
-Straight *Accomplished
-Getting underneath himself  *Somewhat accomplished
-Me controlling the pace of the trot  *We got the slow down, now need the forward (not fast, forward)
- and Practice barrels for the barrel race this Friday *Accomplished

Tomorrow I am not sure what we are going to do. I'll post after though!

-Em and Jet