Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 2: The Last Time you Rode and What you Did

So it's pretty early in my bloggi-ness to confess this, but I'm a horrible horse mommy.  I have the luxury of owning a horse who can have a month off and come back with the same brain I left her with.  Granted, she's definitely stiffer and not as light but all things considered she's a pretty sane animal.  As a result I tend to get a little lax about going to ride when it's single digits, I'm staying late at work, hungry, tired, etc.  A bunch of excuses, but I am a horrible horse mommy.

That being said, the last time I rode my horse was December 30th.  It was bitterly cold so I remember warming up for a long time.  I tend to warm Mollie up on a long rein and do LOTS of lateral work.  I joke that I never ever ride my horse in a straight line but it's more true than not.  I feel like we're constantly in shoulder fore, shoulder in, leg yielding, half passing, etc.  After walking in each direction I shorten up to a light contact, put her on a 20m circle, and trot.  I hardly post, instead keep most of my weight held up on my thighs.  I open and close the angle of my knee in a posting rhythm but my butt hardly leaves the saddle.  This allows me to influence Mollie's back while not slamming all my weight onto it while she warms up.

Our favorite warm up exercise is definitely working on this circle at a very slow trot.  And I mean very slow.  Most people would consider it too slow to be "forward" but after years and years of pushing for "forward" and ending up with a stiff, short, sometimes lame horse, it's time to rethink things.  I've learned that by keeping Mollie extremely slow it gives me more time to rearrange her weight and keep her lighter.  I continue trotting her on this slow circle until her front legs are producing as much lift as her hind legs are producing forward motion... if that makes sense.  When I can straighten my body, touch my butt to the saddle, and contract my abdomen and have Mollie quietly come right to walk without putting any weight on the bit I get on with our ride and put her together.

The rest of our ride was pretty short, seeing as it was freezing, she was well behaved during our warm up so I didn't kill her.  After some collected trotting, lateral work, and canter transitions I called it a day.

Despite not having ridden since then I've been out to the barn a few times to see Mollie.  I would have ridden this past Saturday had I not totally wrecked my back shoveling snow the day before.  Therefore Mollie got a lunging session where she snoozed and jogged around for a few minutes before I put her away.  She's such a good lady.

Sure Mom, I'll hold the lunge line while you get your act together.


  1. Your indoor looks beautiful! :) And gotta love a good brain!

    As for excuses you are not alone. I find myself making similar ones too.

    1. I've considered taking up residency in that indoor. My horse better appreciate it haha.