Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I rode last night and was thrilled with Mikey! I started with a lot of walking, encouraging deeper throughness. I had a bad time getting him together because I've been letting him go around without any real constraints except long and low, and yesterday was exceptionally windy and distracting. I worked a little on walk/trot transitions and realized how much Mikey was ignoring my half halt for the downward transition. He talked me into taking my hands back towards my seat, which enabled him to invert, so I used a heavier hand, so he collapsed downward in the transition.

Rein length is important. Yes, I should be able to half halt on my long rein and ride a proper transition from trot to walk. That doesn't work when your horse is ignoring you. I shortened my reins, not to where I'd normally hold the rein for 3rd level work, but slightly longer. Shorter reins let me carry my hands more forward, so when he inverts to avoid me, I can add leg to push him into the bridle a bit easier and get a faster result.

I also sat the trot to fix his transitions. My posting trot isn't as strong as it should be- the sit part doesn't get the contact that my sitting trot does. A different instructor had told me that's the problem with my posting trot... but I just don't get how you can get in and out of that deep sitting seat in time to keep up with the posting, and do it without smashing down on the horse's back. But that's apparently why I find it hard to influence Mikey in posting trot. I haven't sat the trot since his surgery because I didn't want to stress him. Sitting the trot also helps me get my inside leg available to nail him when he's bulging or distracted.

Anyway, after some insisting on my part, Mikey became super through, soft, light, connected and pliable. And strong- he felt very solid behind. I kept sitting the trot since he was giving me somewhere to sit. He really filled out his neck the whole way from poll to withers, I was very excited to see that. I did several more transitions before moving on to canter.

His canter was awesome- none of the almost through moments. I started with my super connected trot and asked for canter, which started super connected and then stayed that way. I barely had to remind him to stay connected, just a small half halt every now and then. I mixed in some simple changes through trot which stayed better connected for the left to right change. I had to take more time to rebalance in trot for the right to left.

I was thrilled with his work at that point and pulled him up and went to walk him back home to the barn. A tree chose that moment to fall down and my relaxed horse was gone, but I was able to convince him to walk back into the woods without too much fuss and go back to the barn. The farm owner was there getting ready to hop on a horse and go for a short trail ride, so we joined her.

So I'm super happy that this get back to work period is really paying off with filling in the holes in Mikey's training. I hope we get to use them in public! Anyway, I'd really like some video of him now so I can compare it with video from our last show.

Stretching out, nose to the sand, after a good work.
The barn we were boarding at is holding a dressage show June 20th. I think I'm going to try to have a first level test together for that show. I think it'll be within Mikey's ability. By then we'll have started our lateral work again, leg yields and maybe shoulder fore. I'd aim for just training level or something, but I don't think that would be fair. Perhaps I'll show in the Open division instead of AA. It's really not fair to take my almost 3rd level horse and compete against AA riders two to three levels below what I was showing last year. I'd really like to have him ready for 2nd level for the June show, but I think that's going to be asking for too much.


  1. My sitting trot is better than my rising, too. I post too high and get out of rhythm, then my legs swing, and I start to lean ... oooh it's bad. My trainer gets on me about developing the same pelvic angle I have when I sit in the sitting part of the posting trot. It's so hard to get the hang of, but I have to admit is really nice when I get it. Stupid time in hunter land, ruining me for posting.

    1. It is hard to get the hang of it! I can tell a difference when I've got it, but the same upright feeling in the sit part gets me feeling left behind, and then it all unravels. For the most part, I've only used posting trot for a short time in warm up, when I stretch Mikey after we're done, or when I'm in my xc saddle with the ultra forward flap, and none of those times I really want to get that deep into the tack!