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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ring Work. Trails. Jumps.

Between the seemingly never-ending bouts of rain we have had, Jet and I have been up to a lot. We have been doing some ring work to work on getting him straight, balanced, connected throughout my body, and slowly starting to round. He is doing fantastic and I am more and more impressed everyday!

We have also done a BUNCH of trail riding. He has been quite full of himself ever since his massage. He is like a totally different horse! I'm sure the cooler weather has something to do with it aswell. We have gone a few times to the back field, a few times to Hobby Horse, and most recently we went to Mary-Kate's house. I have been practicing picking a point infront of me and keeping him straight to get there. That means keeping his ears, shoulders, and point of hip all aligned and keeping everything in that box. He has been doing really well with it!

We have also been working on his canter. In the fields, he is nailing it! He has a pretty big strides and every ride results in a slightly slower and more balanced canter. In the ring, he certainly tries his hardest but our tiny ring isn't helping him whatsoever. So instead of trying to keep the canter and just stressing the both of us out, I have been working on just getting the transitions (from trot AND walk now!), taking a few strides, then bringing him back down.

We have been playing arund with some jumps here or there. Nothing really set up in the ring, basically whatever I find. We have jumped a 22"-ish branch at Hobby Horse last weekend! We only went over it once, though. After he went over it the first time (without refusing too!) he wouldn't go back over it. Oh well... I also took some of the not-yet chopped logs and set them out and jumped them. It was only 18" or so but it was something new and fun.

We have been doing a lot of groundpoles lately. Raised and on the ground. It just helps him remember where his feet are and that he needs to pick them up lol. It adds some excitement to out boring ring rides.

Today we went to Mary-Kate's house and did tons of stuff! I started him out in a running martingale and did some w/t work. He did absolutely fantastic! Straight, slow, and starting to get a connection in the bit! Then I took the running martingale off, did some more w/t work, then practiced our canter. We were able to go once around in each direction without stopping (huge improvement from the one long side we accomplished last time!) and got transitions from the trot and walk!

After that, Maey-Kate had some jumps set up and I decided to try them. First was just a plain ordinary crossrail. He didn't look twice at it and went right over!

Then we had a 2' hedge. Orginally, I wasn't planning on even attempting it. Eventually Mary-Kate persuaded me to give it a go. What's the worst that could happen? He refuses? Well, the first time he sorta just ducked out. I came at it from a weird angle and he just kept going by it. The second time I aimed him at it I made sure we were straight, he was forward and in between my legs, and that he was paying attention to where we were going. And... he went over it! After that one time, he had no problems with it and we went over it a few mroe times from both directions.

The last jump that was set up was a haybale fence. It was two haybales upright nest to eachother. It has a lime green and blue spray painted piece of plastic on it so I was thinking it might spook him. And boy was I wrong. He went right over it! Didn't even think of refusing!

We walked them on the raods and then on the cranberry bogs. We rode for nearly 2 hours. They were pretty sweaty but I made sure I walked Jet as much as I could. I curried the heck out of huim and threw the cooler on him. He is fine now. He sure surprised me today! I absolutely love my horse! (:

We have a sshow this Sunday at Rehboth Fair grounds (Fall Fest Open Horse Show). I was going to show Jet at my school in 2 in-hand classes and 1 flat class on Saturday but I think it is too much for now. Maybe next year!

I'll let everyone know how I do (:

-Em and Jet