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hoofbeatsaremyheartbeats7 09-23-2013 06:32 PM

Flat work to do with my lease?
I have recently been riding my friends horse, she is in gr 12 now (im in gr 11) and she is finding the homework just too much, so I basically have a half lease on her horse (riding like 2/3 times per week). He's a 10 year old appendix who had an evicular and is nerved, but this really doesn't have a big impact on him. My friend has had him for 5 years and she is a very good rider. I am not, i have been riding for like 2 years. They did dressage together and no jumping, this doesn't really bother me because i haven't done much jumping before.

Basically i am wondering what you work on with your horse? I know this is pretty vague and people are at all sorts of levels and goals with their horse, its just that i haven't had much experience riding out of lessons where a teacher is telling me what to do. If i am going to work with him a couple times a week i want a plan so i am actually working on things and not just showing up and going with it.

Since my friend is a better rider than me this horse holds oppertunities for me to learn how to do things better myself since he is well trained to do them already. So i am more working on my riding than the horse. I know i want to work on framing and contact, getting him to collect and engage his hind end. I want to work on my own balance and getting an independent seat, so lots of no stirrup and even bareback work. I also want to work on using my legs and seat to steer and less my hands.

I dont really have any real dressage training, so i do leg yielding but i dont really know what else I could do, I know there are other similar things (shoulder ins and half pass, but I dont know if they are advanced or not) So I was just wondering what are some fairly basic flat exercises I can do? What is a basic hour ride with your horse composed of?

Thank you!
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mahalopele 09-28-2013 06:39 PM

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I have a few ideas: collected trot/ canter, in-hand gallop (i dont know how big your arena is), working trot, lateral movement, serpentines, figure eights, circles, lead changes, flying lead changes (i dont ride english, so I dont know how difficult these movements are). Also, if you want something different, you could try walking and trotting over ground poles, maybe try some bareback riding on a longe line (i heard it can improve balance, and it would be something new to try), maybe a low vertical, if your friends horse can do it? Just trying to be helpful...
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Alpinerider 09-28-2013 10:43 PM

Hmmm thats tough to answer since it totally does depend on your level/goals/where the horse is at/how the horse is that day/a million other things-not to mention what you need to work on can change depending on the day or your rides as of late-but it sounds like you know that already :)

As I learn more, or feel like I am backtracking, my routine changes. As of right now I usually start out letting my horse do a stretchy walk/trot to loosen up her back before I ask for any sort of collection-the colder it is outside, the longer this part of our warm up is since my mare has a tendency to have quite a tight back anyways. I also find just focusing on getting her to move forward at this time is very helpful. I also do a few halt/walk, halt/trots to get her listening to my aids. Depending on how she is that day, I have a "conversation" with her at the halt, applying *some* pressure to the reins and giving as soon as she softens her neck even the slightest. I then apply that in the other gaits as need be. It makes it very clear to her what I want and what the reward is.

As I start to move into collected work and get her in frame, I do a number of direction changes through a 20 meter circle to help supple her neck and spine. I'll do a number of voltes as well (10 meter circles) and work on transitions at the end of some of them. I will practice going from a very forward posting trot to an-almost walk sitting trot and back to the forward posting to work on my half-halts and to get her attuned to my seat. I always make sure she's really moving forward and driving with her hindquarters-never riding backwards by pulling on the reins to try and get her into a certain frame.

When I canter, I focus alot on half-halts since Raisin has a tendency to run during it. I use the canter to help develop the trot as well. I try not to just go in circles and not change anything. After I transition to a trot from the canter I usually let her stretch-I dont just drop my reins, I still have contact, but shes in a different frame. This generally makes her more willing to collect more again. Sometimes I'll work on leg-yields down the long-side, a turn on the fore-hand, and a leg-yield back down (or a shoulder-in) but we're really not that far along with our training and I usually do this when my instructor is around to make sure its correct. The turn on the forehand really helps her to round her back and get light.

If the ground poles are out, I'll go over them to get her paying attention to her feet and picking them up.

Like I said though, it really depends :p

Working on a circle makes it easier to frame your horse in, but its important to keep changing what you're doing throughout your workout to an extent to keep him from getting bored. Work on communicating clearly with your aids, be that in the form of transitions, half-halts, etc. and remember to not just go around and around without changing something. Even if you're doing something right, you don't want to overdo it! Transition work is great too.

Regardless of how my workout changes, I make sure that I maintain consistency in it (so if I trot a 20 meter circle to the right, do a trot volte at K, and canter out of it, I make sure I trot a 20 meter circle to the left, do a trot volte to the left at K, and canter out of it.) I want to make sure I am working both sides of my horse evenly. Sometimes its tempting to neglect one side, since every horse/rider has that not-so-hot direction, but I think its really important to keep your ride balanced both ways. I also make sure to keep my geometry as accurate as possible-its make a big difference for me. If my mare manages to push out or fall in on our circle, she'll break gait.

Ok sorry for the novel...that's kind of my ride in a nutshell right now. Enjoy your guy, and have fun learning!

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