Much Needed

As you could likely tell from my post the other day, I wasn’t in the best spot mentally. I also hadn’t ridden my horse in three days. HMMM I WONDER IF THERE WAS A CONNECTION THERE.

I showed up to my lesson this week and warned Trainer: “I’m probs rockin’ a low grade fever, and I may start crying for no reason. Just a quick heads up.” Being used to my various mental gymnastics, Trainer just rolled with it and said she would give me other things to focus on. She’s the best ever.

I was actually a little curious about what Frankie would be like when I pulled him out- he hadn’t been ridden in three days, hadn’t been turned out in two, was body clipped over the weekend, and the temperature had dropped by a lot. Kinda  perfect recipe for freshness. I knew he wouldn’t be wild because that’s not in his wheelhouse, but I expected a few small shenanigans.



And he offered such big misbehavior: he walked off from the mounting block as I was getting my stirrups, before I told him to walk off. WOAH THERE WILD PONY, CALM YOURSELF. No seriously though, he was absolutely perfectly behaved the whole time. Love love LOVE my steady Eddie.

We’ve been playing a lot with different lateral movements lately and how to adjust our contact depending on our needs, and we continued that work. Lots of shifting the contact from indirect/direct outside and inside reins around smaller circles, and how we can use that to encourage the bend through his whole body. Weirdly enough, when I managed a more correct, steady contact, he instantly rounded onto the bit and stepped under. Strange how that works, right??

We then started playing around with canter half-passes. And I say playing around because they were nowhere near an actual half-pass. But sucking at something is the first step at not sucking at something! We ended up taking a step back from this to work on our haunches-in at the canter on a small circle to develop that type of motion- lots of balancing on the outside rein, getting that outside leg back to push his bum over. Not perfect by any stretch, but we had our moments and I could really feel it when we got it. I think as I learn how to ask more accurately this will come together, because Frankie was really listening and trying to figure out what I wanted.

All this lateral work has been FANTASTIC for us. Honestly this wasn’t even on my radar, but Trainer has been pushing us and introducing these movements and it’s really noticeable in our jumping work- turns come up more balanced and I’m much more able to place his body exactly where I want it.

Next step, canter pirouettes, amiright? Seriously though, we’re getting some really nice dressage buttons installed on him and he’s been super trainable for all of it. Hooray for versatile pony!

On to the jumping work! We kept the jumps low and worked on a gymnastic type exercise, as seen here:


We started by trotting in-cantering out each bending line in 6 strides (1-2 and 1-3). Then trotting in-cantering out each way in 5 strides by moving up to the base.

Then we did this exercise in 5 strides cantering in both ways for the add step: 1-2-3-1, and 1-3-2-1. Like a teardrop pattern.  Then cantering in and doing all lines in 6. Hear that? We totally did the double add!! And it actually looked like we did it on purpose instead of landing and two strides later saying OH CRAP and hauling back and breaking to trot and then almost stopping and then lumping over the jump. Because, you know, that’s totally never happened or anything.

This time when I mashed him together, he actually came up rounder and gave some real collection of his stride without losing impulsion. And it made him jump more carefully, even over the smaller jumps. As Trainer says- he doesn’t care about the small jumps because they’re not hard, so we have to make him care by creating the impulsion and pushing him up to the base.

We’re working on adjustability no matter how we get into the line- it might not be the perfect distance in, but I have to keep my leg on and believe in the base and mash him together for the stride length I’m asking for. A common theme lately: recover faster after every jump. Still in progress, but it’s definitely improved from a few weeks ago.

I’m pretty sure that next week we’ll be schooling the liverpool for the first time in case we run into it at the show- here’s to hoping that isn’t the one thing that bothers Frankie! I’ll try to get media too, it’s totally a bucket list thing for me to jump that liverpool (Trainer’s is M-A-S-S-I-V-E).

Any tips as we work to install the half-pass?

19 thoughts on “Much Needed

  1. Tracy - Fly On Over 12/08/2016 / 8:56 am

    Frankie is just so hot and fresh, I don’t know how you handle it on a daily basis, LOL ❤


    • hellomylivia 12/08/2016 / 8:56 am

      Hahaha he’s such a wild one!!! Whatever shall I do 😉


      • laurelashtonw 12/08/2016 / 9:06 am

        I also think my boy might be reading your blog and trying to be more like Frankie haha, he’s been so calm too!


  2. Avery 12/08/2016 / 9:09 am

    I feel your pain. I have not been able to ride in forever and I feel all over the place!!! Sounds like a great lesson. That dressage work is paying off for your adjustablilty. Keep it up and it will all improve.


    • hellomylivia 12/08/2016 / 2:42 pm

      I hope you get some saddle time to help you get centered!! Definitely excited to keep improving that flatwork- Frankie is less excited, but still on board haha

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hillary H. 12/08/2016 / 9:16 am

    Wild man! Control your beast!

    Sounds like a good lesson!


  4. Amanda C 12/08/2016 / 11:15 am

    Wow, canter half pass is a really difficult, more advanced movement! Henry is a pro at canter leg yield but isn’t really even strong enough yet to think about trying for canter half pass. He’s had a couple of legit tries at trot half pass that weren’t bad, but canter is a whole different ballgame. We do a lot of leg yield at canter, to and from quarter line, and some shoulder-fore and haunches-in on a circle. That’s about the extent of his lateral work at the canter at this point, though!


    • hellomylivia 12/08/2016 / 2:57 pm

      I’m like 99.999% sure that Phyllis and my trainer have installed the buttons on Frankie and I’m just figuring out how to push them haha. He’s been rocking the shoulder-fore, haunches-in, and leg yields at all gaits lately so we’re starting to put them together. Definitely tons and tons to work on to get it actually functional, but I’m pretty positive that’s more rider error- Frankie is super fit and (pretty sure) knows the movement, I’m just a sack of potatoes when it comes to dressaging.


  5. carey 12/08/2016 / 12:45 pm

    Sounds like a great lesson! I should do more leg yields with Cosmo, we used to play with them more a couple years ago.


    • hellomylivia 12/08/2016 / 2:58 pm

      Getting that lateral adjustability has helped us sooo much on course, leg yields FTW!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Heather 12/09/2016 / 12:17 pm

    I’ve actually been playing with similar haunches-in/shoulder-in at the canter in a circle too. It really slows the hamsters down and gets Val pushing from behind without me having to force him into it. And I love that jumping exercise. We’ve played with it a few times, although we usually set it at 48′ so it’s only three strides, and just for fun does we make 2/3 Swedish oxers. Because you know, go big or go home right?


    • hellomylivia 12/09/2016 / 4:14 pm

      I’ve noticed a similar effect with Frankie- when we get that bend and collection, suddenly I don’t have to work as hard to get him rocking back. Also yes to all oxers all the time.


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