Browsed by
Tag: lesson

Lesson Recap: Slowing Ezhno’s Lope Down

Lesson Recap: Slowing Ezhno’s Lope Down

With Rags still out of commission (two more days until he gets shoes, UGH) and Ezhno’s training in a spot where I could use some assistance, I decided to hit TrainerA up for a lesson last week. She found me an open slot in her schedule on Thursday and off we went!

The day before my lesson I put Ezhno back in the snaffle (mostly so that I didn’t have to juggle split reins and a dressage whip) and spent some time working on getting prompt lope departures. I also introduced Ezhno to the idea of moving laterally at the lope. We even got a few steps of sidepass in both directions!

Having TrainerA confirm that I’m taking the right steps with my horse’s training will never stop being gratifying. The work we did on Wednesday meant that Ezhno and I went into our lesson well prepared. TrainerA focused on a lot of the same things I’d practiced the day before.

We started off with sidepassing off the wall at the walk and the trot.

══  Sidepassing off the wall naturally slows the horse by putting weight on the inside hind
═══  It’s okay for him to be slightly counterflexed, but ultimately we want him to be straight
═══  Don’t twist my body during the sidepass (AKA I can’t sidepass for him)
═══  If I lose his front/back end during the sidepass I shouldn’t halt to fix it
═══  If his hip really starts to lag I should straighten him out, not try to kick his hip into catching up
═══  Keep inside leg on to keep him straight and prevent from losing his shoulder

Then we went into the main exercise of the lesson: sidepassing off the wall at the trot and then moving directly into a lope transition. This was a really neat exercise that I’d never considered! I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough impulsion to transition to the lope from the sidepass, but it went well.

═══  Picking up the lope from the sidepass means the lope is slow and organized right away
═══  This can be done from the walk or the trot (I should practice my walk to lope transitions)
═══  On the right track he over flexes to the outside during the sidepass (which means I lose his shoulder), so I have to focus on keeping him straight and picking up that shoulder
═══  To slow Ezhno down I need to sit back and not use my voice (voice sounds too much like “whoa”)
═══  Hey, here’s a novel thought: if I want my horse to slow, maybe I should engage my core?

We spent a little bit of time working on adjustability (which also improves the quality of the lope) and our trot to lope transitions (which are still behind the leg and involve a little bit of head tossing).

═══  I shouldn’t have to hold him in the canter with my leg/spur
═══  Push him forward to get energy, then ask him to slow and rock his weight back
═══  For better transitions I really need to close my hand (this will get better with consistency)

Just like the day before, we also did a few steps of sidepass at the canter in both directions. Ezhno also had a moment of stupid when he spooked at the far end of the arena for no reasonI can’t decide if he heard something out in the woods or if he was just ready to be done with work, LOL.

It was a really great lesson. I’m super excited to keep working on this stuff with Ezhno!

No saddle? No sweat.

No saddle? No sweat.

The title to this post is a misnomer, because no saddle actually means so. much. sweat.

Summer always has a way of robbing me of my will to actually properly tack up my horse. It’s too hot and muggy to consider anything more than the bare necessities, especially when your state is drowning in smoke. Not only that, but since both of my horses we’re a little off after their farrier appointment, I figured it was better to have a chill week anyways.

It was also haircut/hair management week for the boys 🙂

By Monday Ezhno was back to his regular self, but Raglan has spent the whole week being a delicate flower (Thoroughbreds, right?). He’s been pretending that he’s going to fall on his face every time he has to walk through the gravel and he’s said a staunch NO to lunging and small circles. On straight lines in the arena, though, he’s looked mostly fine and he felt good enough on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday that I hopped on with a bareback pad for a little bit of walk-trot work.

Five year old OTTB bareback, the world’s greatest test of the core muscles

By Thursday he was starting to feel a little disgruntled about having to work when his feet hurt and my weekend is very busy anyways, so I’m giving him Thursday through Sunday off. No guarantees about what today will hold, he might just be on break until he gets shoes put back on in September, but his hoof situation will be better off in the long run, so it’s worth the inconvenience.

Raglan’s current occupation: professional laze about/food eater

Meanwhile, the good news is that I still have my backup pony. Ezhno came out ready to rock and roll on Monday, even when I went the extra mile on the laziness scale and just rode him in his halter. By Thursday we were back to working on our trot to canter transitions and our simple lead changes while we rode with LilyO and TeeqO—he handled it well, but for me it was the ultimate equestrian Thighmaster.

By the time Friday rolled around, my thighs were D-O-N-E. I crawled my way back on Ezhno (again, halter and clip on reins only), then puttered around for a few minutes. At some point I thought it’d be cool to try this whole “tackless” business that everyone’s been raving about, so I unclipped the reins and off we went. Ezhno humored me for a few minutes, but he was clearly tired and didn’t really want to do a lot of work, so he was kind of pokey about the whole affair. We’ll have to try again when he’s got more energy, LOL.

Despite how tired I was, for some reason I decided that I wanted to do my lesson on Boston bareback, because what’s the point of riding bareback everyday of the week except one, RIGHT? I was so enthusiastic when we started, I even wanted to jump bareback… and then I got three minutes in and felt like I wanted to just collapse on top of Boston and take a nap, soooooooo…

In the end we worked on solidifying my lower leg: bringing it forward, turning my toes out, and anchoring with the meat of my calf instead of clenching with my knees (which is bad bad bad, btw). Exercises included things like posting the trot, trotting over half raised cavalettis, posting the canter (TrainerM: “Now post the canter.” Me: “No. Literally no.” and then I do it anyways because I’m a good student, sigh), and two pointing over said half raised cavalettis.

By the time it was all over, I went home, put a Europa Soaps bath bomb in the tub, and considered drowning myself in those lovely floral waters to make my thighs stop throbbing. 😆