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ideas for when riding alone

This is a discussion on ideas for when riding alone within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
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    04-10-2012, 01:46 PM
  #11
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaireDee    
... i'm just looking for some ideas of what YOU do when you ride alone? ... but are there things anyone/any horse can do? Should I just focus on lots of bending/transitions? Any excersises anyone can recommend?? ...
Yup - depends on horse and riders level of ability and knowledge AND what "issues" riders feels horse has that day. I also like to match my workouts to the dressage training scale - (follow link):
USDF | About | About Dressage | Dressage Training

As for exercises and what I work on here goes:
In warmup I strive for forward with rhythm first, bending second.
1.) For forward a 20 meter circle where on 1/2 the circle you're riding a lengthened (extended) trot, second 1/2 of circle you're riding a working or collected trot. On young/green horses I like to sing "Jingle bells" so I can see if horse maintains a nice steady rhythm. Idea is a steady rhythm in a relaxed manner.
2.) Then I add in bending to help establish more relaxation and a connection between my inside leg and outside rein. I do that when I ride a 3 loop serpentine(s) to start, 6 loop serpentines once bending has been established. Once we have a steady rhythm in a relaxed manner and have established a good connection I work again on forward but ask for more "sit".
3.) To have good impulsion means my Half Halts (HH's) MUST work. So I start with a trot to Halt transition - keeping BOTH legs on the horses side, pressing down equally with BOTH stirrups, and asking horse to step his hind legs together directly underneath his hips - stepping into a square halt. Goal is trot to halt with ZERO walk steps. It helps to have either a spotter or a mirror (I use shadows) to judge the squareness of the halt. Hind legs together and underneath the horses hips is the MOST important. You can easily fix the front legs (shoulders) but fixing the hind legs takes more effort and many times the trot halt must be repeated MANY times to get it correctly. Once you can repeat trot halt correctly then ask for halt, and as horse steps beneath itself and start to sit for halt, soften your ELBOWS and allow then to come forward about 1/2 inch while at the same time you stop pressing down on stirrups and tilt your pelvis (hips) forward and push with hips so horse KEEPS trotting. That is a half Halt - horse was starting to halt, you changed your mind and told him "trot on", and he did. The HH helps the horse start to sit (start of collection), rebalances them, and helps if a horse is trying to fall on it's forehand and/or run.

A great impulsion exercise is as you ride around the rail of the dressage arena (or in a field) you do either a HH or a full halt (SQUARE) at every letter. As horse starts to anticipate add things like HH to 10 meter circle (1/2 the arena width) or 1/2 a 10 meter circle and back to the rail in the opposite direction.

Once you can do all that well and properly you'll progress up the levels MUCH faster than someone trying to teach their horse the "tricks".
ClaireDee and DingDong like this.
     
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    04-10-2012, 03:45 PM
  #12
Foal
He's very handsome, it's good to practice what your coach teaches you, I would practice leg yields, different parts of the tests, and of course circles, judges don't like egg shaped circles. Congratulations on the lease
     
    04-10-2012, 03:54 PM
  #13
Trained
I am not a dressage person, but...certain exercises I have used with any horse to break up the monotony as well as learn. Get soccer cones and set them up in the shape of a stop sign. Practice all kinds of patterns around them from cloverleaf to star type patterns....I used to get SO tired of just circles and serpentines. Another thing I like to play with is making my horses totally "adjustable". By that I mean speed up and slow down any gait when I ask, differing the number of strides I keep them at a pace, etc.....And now that I do reining-I do that LOTS at the lope-fast circles, slow circles, and change from fast to slow with a simple hum(or a shhhhh) and sit deeper....speed up with as minimal a cue as possible, whatever you choose (mine is a kissing sound).

Transitions are also a good thing to work on-and not one of 2 strides. When I ask-I want it NOW with upward. Downward, nice and smooth without collapsing in front.

There are lots of fun things to play with that can benefit any style of riding.....this is just a start.....
ClaireDee likes this.
     
    04-11-2012, 10:02 AM
  #14
Foal
Thanks F & B! Those are some good ideas as well!
     
    04-11-2012, 03:48 PM
  #15
Trained
I also used to randomly do patterns and circles around the jumps when I boarded where those were in the ring.....My horses never know where we will be going next. A new one that I have learned with reiners (who never ride on the rail, which is something I spent years trying to achieve, now the opposite....)is to ride a rectangle. You have no idea how hard it is to get a really good straight line! As you go around the arena, at one of the ends go 3/4 of the way across and make a SHARP right turn. Make sure you "follow thru" with your arm, or you will find your horse going back toward the rail. Now, ride STRAIGHT to the other end with a square (as square as possible) corner at the end. Ride across the end to about the 3/4 line again, and do the same thing. You end up riding a rectangle off of each side wall. You can use your straight lines to practice speeding up, slowing, transitions, or, just go straight. It is harder than you think! Look up, focus and ride between your legs. THe faster you go the ease it is, IMO. Have fun!
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    04-12-2012, 04:43 PM
  #16
Foal
When I ride alone I try to pick something we need to work on, there for a while, my horse would get really strong and heavy with the downward transition from canter to trot, so I would make sure I did a few of them when I rode, now, we do them wonderfully, now everytime we do one of those transitions it makes me so happy because we came a long way =) just pick something that you don't do that well with and incorporate it! And always....HAVE FUN!...both you AND your horse!
     
    04-13-2012, 11:58 AM
  #17
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by dressagegirl77    
When I ride alone I try to pick something we need to work on, there for a while, my horse would get really strong and heavy with the downward transition from canter to trot, so I would make sure I did a few of them when I rode, now, we do them wonderfully, now everytime we do one of those transitions it makes me so happy because we came a long way =) just pick something that you don't do that well with and incorporate it! And always....HAVE FUN!...both you AND your horse!

Thank you, that's a good idea.. I would say my main issue would be transitions. The horse i'm leasing right now was a lesson horse for a while, so he's a bit lazy one the upwards transitions. I think have one specific goal to work on at time will help me be more focused.
     
    04-13-2012, 12:05 PM
  #18
Banned
I would say, when you've done all that tricky stuff. Ditch the technicality and go for a nice hack where you can just relax and not worry. Sometimes instead of constantly focusing on something, I fi just do it freely and naturally it comes a lot easier!
     
    04-13-2012, 02:37 PM
  #19
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by horsemadgirl    
i would say, when you've done all that tricky stuff. Ditch the technicality and go for a nice hack where you can just relax and not worry. Sometimes instead of constantly focusing on something, I fi just do it freely and naturally it comes a lot easier!
Good call!! This is something I really want to try. I've been out for one hack, with a group, including my coach, but the barn is on a beautiful property out in the country, so there's lots of areas to explore! I'll have to muster up my courage and face the wild outdoors.. haha
AndreaSctlnd likes this.
     
    04-18-2012, 12:53 AM
  #20
Foal
Thanks ClaireDee for posting your question. I was about to post mine then I saw your thread. I really enjoyed reading the answers here.
ClaireDee likes this.
     

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lesson plan, riding alone

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