Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Inadequate barn time

I have no been near a horse for a week. A full week! It's driving me nuts.

Muddy Lucy
I'm missing my horses. I have so many things to do this week...

So in order to focus myself I'll just write about some things I'm doing this week.

On Wednesday I'm going to teach quite a few lessons which should be WONDERFUL. All of my students get a heavy dose of sports coaching this week because I think they're all somewhat paralyzed by this schooling show on Sunday.


I'm pulling cantering from Tango's workouts for a week or two because he's been out of work and I've stumbled across several interesting quotes regarding the preparatory trot work. It reminds me to be patient. He also has had a few moments that made me think he's not as solid in the work underneath it as I'd like him to be.

"The right time for teaching the horse to canter is when he has become sufficiently balanced by the appropriate work in all the previous exercises to be able tomaintain rhythm and tempo in the short and the collected trot, on straight and bent lines as well as in the shoulder-in. This trot is certainly the hallmark of the horse’s good posture, or at least the proof that he is moving with the right balance, and that the rider has sufficient control to canter him at any time." -(Louis Seeger, 1844)
Which reminds me to do various bending lines with him, allow him to fold his hindquarters in the slow trot, and practice our creeping at the walk. As Anne says, "move so slowly he either has to engage his muscles to keep moving or fall over."

"The beginning of the canter with a young horse is the best test whether the previous training in the trot was correct or incorrect, sufficient or insufficient. If the horse has achieved normal balance through the trot, if he has further learned to move his legs past each other in a circular fashion through the shoulder-in, and if he has finally acquired the important poll flexion, he will also have progressed enough in the rein contact, and consequently the obedience, that he only requires the correct aids of the trainer to strike off in the canter and to maintain an even stride. – If the horse is not flexible yet, however, if he is not balanced yet, the rider will find it difficult to make him canter and even more so to maintain the gait. The horse will either run away without balance or rein contact, or he will lean heavily onto the bit, give up his clumsy canter very soon, in spite of the rider’s aids, and fall into the trot.
In these cases the trainer’s preparatory work does not pass the test. He must therefore discontinue the canter and return to the trot work with his horse."
In these cases the trainer’s preparatory work does not pass the test. He must therefore discontinue the canter and return to the trot work with his horse." -(Theodor Heinze, 1889) 
 Hmmm. So while Heinze is a bit dramatic in his abolition of cantering until the trot work is perfect but I do recognize incredible value in focusing on the trot. Mostly because the trot is both the easiest to improve, and also requires the least skill to improve. So while I'm working to prepare my students for their first show this weekend, I will focus on Tango's trot. Lots of trot-halt-reinback-trot, the slow trot, leg-yield-halfpass-leg-yield, etc. We'll strengthen his balance, improve his respect to the rein, and resume our canter-work next week.

Camou is going to get a dose of cruising because he apparently hasn't been cantering much - I firmly believe in cruising with horses every so often to remind them that yes, they can canter without me bugging you to keep cantering, and yes, you don't need any rein contact.

Jimmy's going to be schooled over our limited scary jump supplies just to make really sure he knows what he's doing.

Bert's going to have to be ridden down a little bit because he's going to be preeetttyyy excited about his life on Sunday.

Danny's pretty much perfect and I love him. Some time next week I'll have to get some video of him - he's starting to develop canter pirouettes! Ugly, bizarre ones, but canter pirouettes nonetheless.

Have some pictures of my trip home!

My sled dog, Copper. He now lives with my family and loves them.

My grandmother's dog got dressed up for Thanksgiving.

My sisters!

My sled dog again

My mother has a weird obsession with birds.

But I have a weird obsession with horses, so whatever.


  1. can't wait to see you on wednesday!

  2. nice quotes about trotting - we will definitely be doing all kinds of flat work boot camp this winter, trot included :) travel home safely and have fun at the show!