AND a new "Tip of the Week":) This one is courtesy of ... me. Even though I have quite a few tips up my sleeve, I will eventually run out, I'm sure, so be sure to e-mail me at: email@example.com
Rode this morning, and had a LOVELY ride! Muffin was BACK, woo hoo! The ring was in good shape, nice and freshly drug. I set up 2 exercises; a 2'3 vertical on the quarter line with a pole set perpendicular to the jump on each side. This was an exercise from Greg Best. The point is to stay right side to right side, left to left, right to left, or left to right. You're supposed to stay close to the centerline and use leg to move the horse around; not pull on the reins or jump at an angle. This was my first time trying it, and I must say I nailed it;) One thing I have done well with my boy is teach him to listen to my body and my leg. And one thing I AM good at is my track, and using my eyes. Didn't even miss a distance!
The other thing I set was a crossrail/18' to a 2'9 ramped oxer. That was an exercise recommended by this months issue of Practical Horseman. If you've looked at the hundreds of pics I've posted on this blog, you've probably noticed the fact that Muffin is a bit of a leg hanger. He's not the sharpest with his knees. This exercise was recommended to help clean up a horse's front end, so I figured it wouldn't hurt him to do it. Weenie me set the oxer at 2'6 in front, 2'9 in back. The article actually recommended 2'9 in the front, 3' in the back. Maybe next week;)
First time through, I wimped out, made a big move with my body, grabbed mane ... Tiki still jumped it well in spite of me. In subsequent pass throughs, I worked on maintaining the quality of my trot, sat still, and let him do the work. He never touched the oxer, and certainly FELT good. Obviously, I don't know if the exercise served its intended purpose, but he maintained a nice rhythm, and didn't have any distance problems.
The flat work leading up to the jumping was EXCELLENT. I warmed up at the walk on a loose rein both ways, then picked up contact. Made him walk on contact. Then worked on my w/t/w/t transitions, trying to work on maintaining a steady connection and him NOT inverting his neck. Worked on a lengthened trot, and it wasn't too bad. Put him on a circle and worked the trot on the circle, then practiced t/c transitions on the circle. You would think it would be EASIER, but Tiki had such trouble with his right lead at first that I endlessly worked my canter transitions on straightaways. Therefore, our straight line trot/canter transitions are better than our transitions on a circle. He just felt SO lovely today. Light, forward, and and a nice, jelly-like neck. After each jump after the vertical, I walked/reversed/picked up the canter in the new direction. The transitions was AMAZING, woo hoo! Hills Wednesday, then dressage school Friday.
Tomorrow, I will be posting about an issue I had with Muffin last week that I would like some opinions on. Comments will be appreciated!
TODAY'S TIP OF THE WEEK: After you've bathed your horse, pour about a cup of white vinegar into a bucket of water. Sponge the vinegar/water mixture all over, paying special attention to any ... ahem, funky areas. The vinegar will cut any remaining soap residue, act as a natural fly repellant, help clear up any fungus, and bring out a shine BEYOND the show ring. Don't rinse. Just scrape, and dry:) E-mail YOUR tips to firstname.lastname@example.org