So I'm looking for some schooling exercises to work with on Murray. Really, I have no clue what to do with him.
A normal day is walk and trot, circles and crossing the arena. Sometimes a leg yield here and there. Always in the indoor.
Now that it's summer and I have more time to go the the barn (I no longer work at my hotel, just on call) I would like to work outside with him and now that I know he can canter, I would like to bring that into working with him.
Any ideas or suggestions? I hate to do the same boring stuff with him.
What kind of "stuff" do you have laying around?? Make an obstacle course with barrells and cavalettis, teach him to cross tarps, open gates, go on trails, walk over logs, make a square with cavalettis and add a pole to each corner to make like a star, thats a good steering formation.
Maybe serpentines, figure 8's half-voltes, just ride randomly around the arena, and make sure he is always ready to listen to you :)
Ride squares. Pick up an energetic trot, ride straight, apply a balancing half halt and make a 90 degree turn. (or as much as your horse can do without becoming unbalanced) Repeat until you make a square.
If squares are too much, ride octagons instead of circles. Insert 8 distinct points and half halt before each one before changing his line of travel to complete that part of the Octagon.
Ride around the ring but stay 2 tracks off the rail. This takes both arms and both legs, really tests your power steering since horses like to be on the rail. This one's great for getting their attention.
For canter work, play trot-canter-trot. Sounds like you already have a good working trot going. Pick specifice places in the ring, preferably corners and ask for the canter. If he speeds up instead, come back to a balanced trot before asking again. Once you get the canter, let him canter for as long as he can do it in a balanced fashion. If he breaks, speeds up or flattens out, come back to a good working trot. He may get fussy and try to break into the canter again, but stay with the trot until YOU have the trot you want. Only then, pick another corner and canter again. At first it might help to ask for canter in the same spot until he understands the canter cue. After that, vary the places where you ask or he will quickly begin to anticipate and try to canter whenever you hit that spot.
I've got about a zillion more since I ride alone and get bored easily. I'll post more later.
Here's a quick list of exercises that I do with the horses I ride. It all depends on how far along the horse is in his/her training though.
20m, 15m and 10m circles
Collecting and extending the gait
Turns on the forehand
A lot of these have many different ways in which you can do them. For example, may you're working in a rectangle area. You can do shoulder-in down the long side then stretch on the short side and repeat. For leg yilding you and do a teardrop shape back to the wall or you can leg yield to the centerline, then back to the wall, etc. So you can work on the same exercise in different ways.
Another thing I also like to do is hillwork, trail rides, endurance rides, and bareback rides. We have a racetrack on the property that I sometimes just hand gallop around. Oh and not to mention lunging/round penning. It's perfect for the days when you don't have time to ride because you don't even need to tack up the horse. I think it's great to mix things up so that your horse doesn't get bored.
There are some great books about full of schooling exercises. They range from novice to elementary. I used to use them all the time but can't think of the best of hand
I also struggle with finding stuff to do with Lacey! =)
One of my favorite things to do with Lacey is to guide her completely with my legs. I basically drop my reins and have her do stuff at a walk (not comfortable enough to do it at the trot yet) just by telling her with my seat and legs. It seems to have really made her much more sensitive to leg cues and it's pretty fun to be able to not even really have to use the reins ever if I don't want to. =P
Yes Wallaby, that's a good one. I do that too at the end of my rides to see how much he's really listening to me. We just started doing it at the trot with some success. That's a fun exercise. I like seeing how little I can do with my seat and still have him respond.
Great ideas everyone! Keep them coming! Thanks a bunch!
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