Had a Great Ride Today!

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Had a Great Ride Today!

This is a discussion on Had a Great Ride Today! within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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        08-20-2009, 07:48 PM
    Had a Great Ride Today!

    Hmm... I guess this goes in the Dressage section... it's flatwork and lateral work so I guess it does :)... Anyway, so on Monday and Tuesday I rode Thumper, and it sucked. He threw his head in the air and speed-trotted around SO much. He wouldn't move off of my legs at all- or bend- and I didn't even bother trying to canter; it would have been a disaster. It was absolutely horrible- he wasn't paying attention to me, I was tired, and both days just were terrible. He has been so good lately that it was a total bummer to take like 10 steps back in his training/riding. So I rode today, and he was great! We had a long walk warm-up and a trot on a long rein to loosen him up, and I think it really helped. He's usually a very stiff horse and he needs a long warm-up. After that, I grabbed a dressage whip- something I have never done before with him- and worked on leg-yielding him off of the quarterlines. When he didn't pay attention to my aids, I tapped him lightly with the whip and he really started crossing over. After that, we tried a little shoulder-in, and he actually tried! Usually he won't even work with me on that- he doesn't do dressage in lessons, just jumping and walk/trot/canter- so shoulder-in is pretty new to him. I was riding with my friend and she watched and said he was doing pretty well! After the shoulder-in and a little walk on a long rein, we tried a turn on the forehand, and he did that well, too! Even when my friend cantered, he didn't start trotting fast with his head in the air like usual. I cantered with Thumper, also, and he was pretty balanced and collected compared to his usual, freight-train-off-the-train-tracks canters . I'm just so happy and proud of him that I just had to share .
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        08-20-2009, 08:03 PM
    Good for you. Sounds like you did everything right. Taking a step back and lengthening your warm up time sounds like it really helped. You also sound like you did a great job of re-enforcing your aids with the dressage whip only when you absolutely needed it which is great. Thumper sounds like a good boy. I love that pic of you hugging him.
        08-20-2009, 08:38 PM
    Haha yes Thumper is an AMAZING boy! He has impeccable ground manners and I think once he understands what you want, he wants to do everything right. He's not the kind of horse who you really need to get after to keep him moving, but he doesn't really work from behind and he has no impulsion whatsoever. So the occasional tap from the dressage whip really helps to just every once in a while remind him to keep working from behind or to move off of my leg. I'm planning on lunging him in side reins- on the loosest setting with him of course- to encourage him to round out and stretch out/relax his back instead of hollowing out and tensing up. The woman who leases him usually lunges him but suggested that I do it occasionally, too. She's not going to be able to come out as often soon because she is pregnant, so I'll probably take over his lunge work :). Do you have any suggestions for exercises that will get him to really round out and relax his back?
        08-20-2009, 09:26 PM
    Congrats, I applaud you for taking all the right steps! It always feels good to have a good ride doesn't it ?
        08-20-2009, 10:07 PM
    Good. It's nice to hear that you didn't push your horse. Of course, try get him moving, but if he is refusing then it's an obvious decision.
        08-20-2009, 10:15 PM
    Thats awesome some horses just need some special attention
        08-20-2009, 10:16 PM
    What breed is thumper and how old????
        08-20-2009, 10:32 PM
    He's an 11-year-old Thoroughbred/Mini cross. I didn't want to really push him hard today because he usually isn't as responsive as he was today and I wanted him to not have to do a super hard-core training session when he was already being so good. So we did lots of lateral work and only one canter each way, and just a little bit of trotting here and there :).

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