It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

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Rosie B
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It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Rosie B » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:31 pm

Hey guys!

No one else has started this so I figured I may as well. We're having below average temperatures here and have been for over a week now. I plan to keep riding though, modifying the workload and exercises appropriately to the temperatures and footing.

My goals are as follows:
* Ride at least 3x a week.
* Continue to confirm Bliss being truly in front of the leg.
* Do more suppling exercises (smaller circles and serpentines) as footing and temperature allows.
* Continue to improve trot/halt/trot until they feel effortless and are 100% square, front and hind (as footing/temps allow).
* Continue to improve simple changes so I can do them anywhere, anytime. (as footing/temps allow)
* Continue to improve counter canter so that I can do a simple change anytime anywhere. (as footing/temps allow)
* Continue to improve quality of gaits with lots of forward and back. (as footing/temps allow)

Can't wait to hear what you all are planning and good luck everyone!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:59 pm

At this point, my plan is survival (it is 15-20 degrees F colder than normal here). Emi's strategy for survival involves a lot of gear.

I'll be more thoughtful in a week! She was a wild thing today. It's been a long time since I've had to spend much time saying "put your head down and be round" to her for so many minutes in a row! (I usually have to say "bring your head up!") She was awesome after she settled though. So much for a quiet hack in the fields. :lol:

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Dresseur » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:27 pm

Thank you for starting this thread! For me, my goals are very simple...

KEEP MIRO SOUND.

This is going to be difficult as he is feeling good and is bucking, playing and bolting like a feral pony. Every time he does, my heart drops and I keep expecting him to come up lame again, but so far, so good - despite the antics. We were hoping to get him turned out this week, but with the temperatures, we're going to hold a bit longer. I WILL be using pharmaceutical help for initial short turn outs, but really, that's the last hurdle.

Right now, we're up to about 20 mins of work each side - trot sets and a canter transition or two. He feels great, but I'm being incredibly cautious. Andrea is coming on the 11th to take a look at him and to confirm that he's still good to go (I imagine bobbles at every move - not helpful to my stress levels lol).

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby StraightForward » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:16 pm

Dresseur wrote:Thank you for starting this thread! For me, my goals are very simple...

KEEP MIRO SOUND.


That is about where I'm at; KEEP ANNABELLE SOUND/HEALTHY.

Today is the halfway point for treating with Gs$troGuard. She does seem perkier, and more comfortable in her body. Since I have to go out every day to administer the GG, I've been doing in-hand work with her daily. The 6 or so inches of snow in the arena is making her work a little harder, which I think is a good thing. Her LY is getting much more flowing, and we're starting to work on trot LY in-hand, though the footing is getting a little chunky and difficult for that. With several rein-back to trot transitions each time, she is also using herself better and looking to be in a little more self carriage and uphill balance at the trot. I think she is feeling better and having some fun with it.

Anyway, as work, weather, and arena schedules allow, I'm going to start hauling out 2x a week until the home arena is more usable. So far we're having a mild winter, and usually get at least a couple good weeks in February. So goals are even more modest than usual:

In-hand LY at trot
Honest TOH in-hand (not stepping out with hinds)
Walk half-pass in hand
Steadier SI in-hand
Ride exercises from Ritter course at walk and trot as possible (I am woefully behind)
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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby DJR » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:44 pm

My goals are simple, too -- RIDE WHEN THE WEATHER PERMITS RIDING!! It's been -20C to -30C here and some of my friends ride but I don't, and I don't think it's fair to the horse to do anything but light hacking at the most in this bitter cold (so I'm not just being a wuss, there is science to support equine endothelial lung damage with exercise in severe cold temps - that's exercise beyond what a horse would do on its own cavorting in the field, btw).

Anyway, it's supposed to warm up to -15C later today so we may try to ride. Then we get two days of "warmth" to -10 or -8C but one of those days I work 12 hrs. Hopefully we can ride once or twice this week. Then back into severe cold until next week when more seasonal temps will return.
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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Sue B » Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:54 pm

I managed to ride 3 days this time, so I guess my goal is to try to keep that up. We are a little cooler here than where SF lives, so my arena is a bit stiff in places and the snow has gotten very crispy. Rudy doesn't seem to be bothered by it but Tio finds the footing very challenging, which is good. All of this will give him the confidence and strength he needs to trot around the Derby courses this spring I think.

So let's see...goals
1) ride a couple times a week
2) work Tio out in the hay field like I do Rudy
3) focus on draped leg, swinging hips

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:16 pm

I am in the simple goals group this time around, too. We will start getting some decent weather here by the end of this week and then I will continue to work on getting Rocky better at trailering. She has already improved a lot but I need to take her on several more 10-15 minute trips. What I am doing now is to load her up and back her out 5-6 times, then load her and stand with her for about 10 minutes while she eats alfalfa. I talk to her and pet her while she’s eating and she has relaxed a lot during this part of the process. Then, before she has cleaned up all the alfalfa, I close the divider (slant load, step-up gooseneck) and while still talking to her, close up the back doors and take her for a short trip. When we return, I back her out, and then load her again a couple of times, and then we’re done. The “acid test” will be when I take her to her next lesson on Jan.8th. The trip is only 23 minutes on good roads, but freeway. I drive very carefully and keep my speed at 65-70 mph. The speed limit is 70 but there is a 7 mile stretch on the toll road that is 80 mph. I think it’s the freeway/toll road part that bothers her because it’s after the lesson that she doesn’t want to get back in the trailer (and I’m guessing back on the freeway). That’s why when I practice, I reload her again right after the practice trip. This is so tedious for me but I just have a feeling that if she can learn to relax in the trailer it will be much easier for her to relax in all other situations....

So goals for Jan/Feb:

* work on relaxation in the trailer

* work on relaxation under saddle via 1. Transitions and 2. Keeping myself relaxed

* ride 3-5 times a week weather permitting


Hopefully we will be back to normal Central Texas weather very soon and the temps will be in the high 40’s low 50’sF. Rocky may be “too much horse” for me in the low 40’s so if that occurs on a lesson day I will just have my trainer ride her.

I am counting on being back into the weekly lesson routine by Jan.8th and then I will have a more specific set of goals. I’ll update the goals at that point...bar any of those pesky unforeseen circumstances!

This is a nice thread! Good luck everyone and I am enjoying everyone’s journeys.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Mareless » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:01 pm

Due to ongoing family garbage that is mostly out of my control (I'll just say I'm the safe house for my 3 &5 year old grandkids), I can't even think of February yet. My goals for January are:

--ride 3-5 times per week (weather and grandchild residency depending)

--continue to work on more energy in trot

--all lateral work at walk more flowing (ie. Less conscious effort from me)

--play with lateral work at trot

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby heddylamar » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:08 pm

In spite of our abnormally low temperatures in the teens + sustained winds (and our arena is on the apex of a hill ...), an injured hip, AND a bouncy youngster, I've maintained regular riding.

We've been working on
1) maintaining relaxation and swinging back while stepping into contact in *all* situations (the all situations is the challenge!)
2) not doing weird shit with my left arm
3) maintaining correct weight in my seat bones (looking to the outside of the circle has nipped that in the bud)
4) remedial thou shalt not skitter sideways and bolt
5) [new] thou shalt not dance around on two legs

It’s cold. It’s windy. The neighbor’s tarp blew onto our property and I hung it on the arena fence — Maia needs to get over tarps.

Maia really is smart and sensible, and when I get her attention tuned in to me, she’s steady as a rock. It’s just taking 20 minutes to get her tuned in right now … with lots of excitement along the way! Until this cold snap Maia had reached the point where she was tuned in nearly immediately. We’ve just regressed to how she was in August, just after I moved her 900 miles, so I’m sure it’s a temporary phase.

Our footing is new, and much improved for winter riding. There are a few low patches which catch more water that are hard now, but they are easy to avoid. My hard cut off for outdoor riding in the winter is 0°F. Mainly because when it’s cold I mostly walk, and unless you have a horse suitable for riding bareback (I do not), it’s just too cold.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Chisamba » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:40 pm

I am a weather wimp, however i am guided by the breathing of my horses with respect to when it is too cold to ride. I had decided some time ago that 15 F, ( -10 C) is the temperature at which the horses begin to have difficulty breathing in large quantities of cold air. For that reason I dramatically reduce the work load when the temperatures are, as they have been here, at zero F .

I have been disagreed with on this topic a lot, so i was thrilled when a friend forwarded a scientific study of horses on treadmills at cold temps which actually bore out my theory at very similar temps, and of course this was not even carrying a rider.

So I goal is to simply keep the horses in exercise and healthy, and work on the things that can be done without inducing heavy breathing until we get a warming trend.

when a horse is at rest, the body warms the air before it gets to the lungs, however, when we exercise the and their breathing increases, then the air can no longer be warmed before it hits the lungs causing the lungs to cool and dry. I can actually hear the difference in sound when it happens.

Exposing the lungs to cold air causes the horses to have a reduced immune response for fourty eight hours post exercise. So if you ride every day, you are challenging your horses immune system.

So, the program for me is slow work, emphasizing lateral work, transitions, and for the riders i work on perfection seat and legs, this includes posting at the walk, hand position etc

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Moutaineer » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:44 am

I hesitate to tell you all that we have the opposite problem to all the rest of you. It's been unseasonably warm with almost no precip. Granted, we had about 3ft of snow just before Christmas, but that's been it, and we've had highs in the upper 30's and low 40's for the past 2 weeks. Whilst it is lovely in some ways to have glorious blue skies and sunshine every day, it is really not good news as we rely on the snowfall for our water for the rest of the year, and of course we are a ski resort, so it really sucks for our local economy. And the valley is just about to disappear into the pit of another smoggy inversion.

I am very fortunate (and very broke) because I board Laddie with a heated indoor. It's not "warm" in there, but I don't have to worry about working in cold or icy conditions--as long as I can get in there without falling on my butt in the ice-rink of a parking lot.

I'm still not feeling that wonderful. I worked all day today, changed into my riding clothes, drove up the canyon--and then I got as far as getting to the barn and feeding carrots... I give up. My trainer is going to hop on him for the rest of the week, and normal activities will resume this weekend.

I hear you, Dresseur, on the staying sound thing. I've just given my poor trainer step by step instructions on what she can and cannot do with Laddie and I am going to be entirely too anxious about her accidentally breaking him when I'm not there.

However, in order to keep myself sane, I have been pondering longer term goals. Assuming I get back on next weekend and he still has 4 working legs, then my focus for January will be in working over the back and developing his topline and his reach from behind, while gradually increasing his workload. Come February, I think we should be ready to add in some counter-canter and more challenging lateral work, leading to greater collection. It's really all about building muscle and fitness at the moment in order to get us to the point where we can start looking at flying changes again come the spring.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Moutaineer » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:51 am

Demi, you might try slowing down a bit. I know my horses much prefer the ride if I stay under 65. Which doesn't feel too painful to me as in England you aren't allowed to go over 55 with a trailer or horsebox. My friends tell me I drive like a grandma when I'm trailering... I just ignore everyone else on the road and stay in the right lane, particularly if I've got a picky loader on board. Laddie has told me a couple of times that the ride was not to his liking on the previous trip so he's not damn well getting back on, but one careful, slow trip and he's back to his normal self-loading self.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:51 am

Mountaineer, I never even thought about the speed being the problem, but it fits the scenario. When I take her on the short trips we never get off our road which is 45 mph...and she is fine afterwards and even reloads. I will definitely keep it down to 65. Thanks for the advice!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Moutaineer » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:53 am

I didn't mean to come across as judgy, Demi, I hope you realize :)

I do most of my driving on the interstate and I'm always amazed at the speed some of the big horse transporter rigs are traveling at in our twisty, mountainous terrain. I wonder to myself how those horses feel about getting on another trailer afterwards... But then I think they probably have the comfort and distraction of a bunch of other horses around them, which must help. (And I guess the commercial transporters don't really give much of a toot about the long term consequences, either,)

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:35 pm

You didn’t seem judgy at all, Mountaineer, it was good advice. I have worried a LOT over trailering Rocky and I purposely never hauled her a lot because of her Issues. She is better with another horse in the trailer but I don’t want to haul another horse to the lessons because my three horses are so herd bound that they would be screaming for each other during the whole lesson. When I haul two to the vet clinic I have to have hold one while the vet examines the other :roll:

I am very serious about getting this solved as I love my new trainer but Rocky’s well being is more important to me than taking lessons. On the positive side, I think she will be okay if I keep working on it. I think lowering my speed may be a big part of it!

And then, if I can’t solve the trailering problem, I will just put her in full or partial training at my trainer’s.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Fzybtfrm » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:17 pm

You guys make me feel like an old wimp! We have had minimal precip so far in northern Nevada, with temps in the 30's to 50's. I try and get out all my days off ( I am lucky to work three 10's with an hour drive on both ends) but if there is any wind I usually wimp out. I can deal with the cold but not with the wind chill. I cannot imagine riding in some of the temps you guys are describing. My boy is 4th level schooling Prix St George and I am really trying not to lose all our fitness over the winter. It is so frustrating "starting over" fitness-wise, in the spring. My hat is off to all of you for your perseverence and non- wimpiness!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby kande50 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:31 pm

demi wrote:I think it’s the freeway/toll road part that bothers her because it’s after the lesson that she doesn’t want to get back in the trailer (and I’m guessing back on the freeway).


We had one who did this when we first started trailering her, and I think the problem was that she was much further out of her comfort zone when she was away from home than she was at home in familiar surroundings. We were trailering out to different places almost every time too, so that probably added to her anxiety over getting into the dark little box.

She was able to relax and start loading easily after about half a dozen trips, in spite of the fact that I may have added to her anxiety by not being as patient with her as I could have been. (If I'd only known then what I know now!)

Hopefully we will be back to normal Central Texas weather very soon and the temps will be in the high 40’s low 50’sF. Rocky may be “too much horse” for me in the low 40’s so if that occurs on a lesson day I will just have my trainer ride her.


I think you're right about relaxation being key, because I'm very much into calm so don't take mine very far out of their comfort zones anymore, and as a result I've found that temperature, wind, long periods without being ridden, etc.. make no difference to them. New sights and sounds will sometimes wake them up, but as long as I can avoid too much of that then the climactic conditions, thankfully, don't affect them.

If you have one who will stand tied quietly in an unfamiliar place, taking him along and tying him inside the ring with you could help. When mine are particularly spooky about the other end I tie my donkey down there, because he's the only one I have who is unconcerned about being tied down at the spooky end, and that saves me having to go round and round at the safe end, gradually increasing the circles, until they habituate to the spooky end. Back in my relative youth I would have just ridden them around the ring until they habituated to the spooky end, but in doing do they would have experienced a lot more aversives (stronger aids, plus more fear), which I've come to believe is not the best way to go about habituating horses.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby StraightForward » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:15 pm

I got to ride yesterday and it was lovely! I'm not sure if it's the work, or just maturity as she gets closer to being 5, but Annabelle felt a lot stronger, like she actually had a little power in her trot. I had to keep it short because she first got turned loose in the indoor and blew off some steam, and then did some additional acrobatics on the lunge line when some girls came in with their little ponies, and the pinto grulla that she deemed Very Strange Looking.

LY is greatly improved a the walk, and she could even give an honest 3-track SI at walk, then switch to LY down the wall quite nicely. She even offered a lovely stretchy trot circle at the end, for the first time ever. I'm going to haul back out tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully I can manage my work commitments to get out every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, in addition to any weekend days that the arena is open.

In the meantime, feeling the improvement after three weeks out of the saddle is great motivation to keep up with the in-hand work.

Weather is mild here, like Moutaineer and Fzybt are experiencing, but the snow in the arena isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Just hoping it doesn't turn into a sheet of ice as it thaws and freezes since temps are about 20 at night and a mid-30's during the day.
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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby kande50 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:34 pm

demi wrote:And then, if I can’t solve the trailering problem, I will just put her in full or partial training at my trainer’s.


There's always that! :-)

I thought of another possible strategy that might help. Maybe you could rent the arena for an hour before your lesson and turn her out in it so she could explore it thoroughly on her own? Course if she's too far out of her comfort zone she'll probably just fuss at the gate, but if she's close to being calm some extra time might do the trick.

I didn't need to do that at the farm where I was taking Sting because he wasn't nearly as spooky in their arena as he was at home, which I think was because there was more space between the dressage arena and most of the spooky stuff. But I did rent the arena some in between shows, because I wanted to get him to the point where he'd step off the trailer and look around and think, "Ho hum, this is nothing new".

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Ponichiwa » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:53 pm

Down here in TX, we're also having unseasonably chilly temperatures. Kiwi is wrapped up in 2 blankets and looks like Ralph from A Christmas Story. She is not a fan.

Needless to say, my riding this year hasn't been terribly consistent. I went for a ride on new years day, enjoyed the (brief) sunshine, and had a pretty decent schooling session before adjourning for a chilly trail ride.

Goals this cycle are a continuation from the last:
- Ride 4x/week
- Expand the no-change zone in the canter with serpentines, leg-yield, and shoulder-fore in true and counter canter. Commit to only asking for changes when the canter feels very relaxed to improve the anticipation issues.
- Touch on half-steps and medium trot in the same ride, at least 2x/month.
- Build cadence within the slower tempo trot work we've been schooling.
- For myself: 30+ min walk/bike/yoga/pilates/etc. workout on days without riding; try for at least 3x/week.
- Start and maintain food journal.

Kiwi gets her saddle adjusted for the first time in quite some time this month. I'm hoping that, plus the work outlined above, set us up for actually showing successfully at 3rd level this year. I'd like 3 scores > 65%.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:16 pm

Thanks for your input Kande. It’s encouraging to know that you had one that was eventually able to relax and start loading easily. You mentioned not helping your own mare because of your youthful impatience and I know that I add to Rockys’ anxiety because she senses my own anxiety. I have a step up and can no longer hop in quickly myself (age). She was possibly perceiving my hesitation (the old age slowness) as I get in, as a warning signal.

I have watched several loading vids on YouTube to get some different ideas. From the Pat Parelli vids I have learned how to get her to self load, and she does it quite well and consistently now. One thing I learned from the Monte Roberts vid is that some horses just need the practice loading and unloading over and over and we have now done the self loading version at least 100 times!! At first she was a little scramble-y but now she hops on like a little gymnast.

Loading is one thing and the trip itself is another. I do think that Mountaineer’s suggestion about the speed might be a key. Also, Parelli suggests doing lots of little trips and that’s where we are now. The frigid temps have slowed down my progress but it is warming up now and I should be able to get in 3 more short trips before the next lesson on Monday.

It isn’t necessary to tie a buddy horse in the arena or rent if because her nerves at the lessons aren’t bad unless the conditions are extreme. Christine is more than happy to ride her if I am uncomfortagble and I had planned having her ride often anyway.

BTW, some of the YouTube loading vids are hair raising!!! I couldn’t even watch some of them!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Chisamba » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:28 pm

Warmest day in weeks, we topped twenty degrees, so despite the harsh wind and snow, I rode everyone, as in real riding. Yay.

Image

today at the barn

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby khall » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:01 pm

Oh good gracious chisamba! That is some picture there!! I am a weather wimp here in GA. We have been unseasonably cold with wind chill and lots of ice to break in the mornings. My horses for the most part are living out in it though may come in tonight with wind chills low teens to possible single digits. Thankfully they don't care either way, but I feel better being able to water them later at night since their troughs have been frozen over so much these days.

It's taking more time than usual to do chores, I would really like to have my typical Georgia weather back please! Not much work/riding going on, though moderation next week so hopefully get back to it in between doctor's visits, vet visits, robotics etc.

Stay warm and stay safe with this interesting winter weather!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Flight » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:26 am

Wow chisamba! That looks seriously cold! It's up to 40C here this weekend (104F?) so I need to ride early if I want to.

My goals - to do well at a working equitation comp this month, and if I can get to a training day, have a crack at an advanced test. Not strictly horsey but to lose that pesky last 3kg or so I want gone.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Chisamba » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:29 am

Flight this morning it's - 10 F, (-23C)which is normal for Canada lol, but cold for us. It's the wind chill. Brrr.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby heddylamar » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:38 pm

Chisamba wrote:Flight this morning it's - 10 F, (-23C)which is normal for Canada lol, but cold for us. It's the wind chill. Brrr.


Today counts as too cold for me to ride :-) So I'll just go running instead! With the windchill (30mph gusts) we're hovering at/just below 0F today.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby DJR » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:10 pm

It's -25C again here today, and tomorrow will be as cold or colder (that's not factoring in windchill). I moved Jet and my daughter's pony to an indoor a month ago and we've only been able to ride ONCE. I cannot justify paying board and not riding, and now I have other issues arising (non-horse related) so I've thrown in the towel and am bringing them home on Sunday. I'll have to wait until early spring to get Jet back in shape as I doubt we'll be riding much unless things improve. Argh!
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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Tuddy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:24 pm

DJR wrote:It's -25C again here today, and tomorrow will be as cold or colder (that's not factoring in windchill). I moved Jet and my daughter's pony to an indoor a month ago and we've only been able to ride ONCE. I cannot justify paying board and not riding, and now I have other issues arising (non-horse related) so I've thrown in the towel and am bringing them home on Sunday. I'll have to wait until early spring to get Jet back in shape as I doubt we'll be riding much unless things improve. Argh!


I am sorry to hear this! Every time I board, this type of situation arises for me too and I end up having to bring the horse home and there they sit.

Embrace the break in riding if you can. Think of it as a re-boot and both you and Jet will be good to go when the weather breaks!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Tuddy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:30 pm

Goals for me.... I always have good intentions, but never seem to be able to follow through. The past couple of weeks have been so cold that all I do is chores, chores, chores. It was -45 to -48 °C with the wind chill there for a bit, and this nice break, and by break I mean -23°C with the wind chill, it seems pretty nice out right now.

I probably won't be doing much this month, but next month I hope to audit a horsemanship clinic with a well known and respected trainer about an hour from me the beginning of February. If I like what I see, I may inquire about sending Yonka to him in the spring.

Also, in February, I will be our provincial Equine Expo (3 day tradeshow, clinics and extravaganza's), with a booth promoting the Canadian Horse. I've done this every year now for the past three years, and I think this time I am on my own running it as the lady that usually helps is going to be having a baby around that time.

But, this is my way of slowing getting myself back into the saddle. I would like to get Yonka going enough that I can trailer him to lessons and start that again.

Good Luck everyone! Stay warm!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Flight » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:28 pm

I can't even imagine -25C !!!! We can get down to -10 at the most. Good luck everyone!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby StraightForward » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:42 am

Well, I got to the arena tonight and Annabelle had decided backing down the ramp was impossible. It was one of the first things I taught her, and she's been great all summer. I don't know what caused the sudden reversal, but it's back to trailer training tomorrow.
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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Kyra's Mom » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:19 am

I actually worked my horse tonight on the lunge line...for a whole 15 minutes but hey, I got some hands on her :D . I have another 2-3 weeks of assisting my sister in getting my Dad to his hyperbaric oxygen therapy then I hope that I will have some more time for Ms. Twinkletoes. She worked well tonight for having hardly been touched in 2 months and seems eager for the attention. We just walked big circles with an occasional trot circle or two paying particular attention to alignment and obedience. I had to remind her to square up at the halt a couple times then she was with the program. When she was aligned, she offered a nice stretch over the back.

One of my goals is to get rid of some of the lard I have acquired since my tailbone surgery last Spring. Yikes, it shows up easily and I would like to lose some of it before I try getting in the saddle again. That is OK. I will probably start doing a lot of in hand walking so we both get some exercise and she will be a little legged up before I get on. Hopefully in February or March. My butt has been better. Still not necessarily comfortable but improved over the fall and will give it another couple months before I try riding again. Of course, I am still rehabbing my back that I screwed up in October. Slow and steady progress. I have been getting regular massages and have a bunch of exercises. Now if I could go at least a week without doing something that tweaks it again. My core is absolutely pathetic.

At least we haven't had to put up with the uber cold temps. My sympathies to all of you that are. Winter is no longer fun :P . I am turning into a real weather weenie in my old age.

Happy riding to all that can. The days are getting longer and better weather shouldn't be that far off.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby StraightForward » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:19 pm

Kyra's Mom wrote:At least we haven't had to put up with the uber cold temps. My sympathies to all of you that are. Winter is no longer fun :P . I am turning into a real weather weenie in my old age.


It's looking like we might be able to ride in the outdoor in another 5 days or so. :shock: Glad you got Kyra out and your tailbone is continuing to improve. Hindsight being 50/50, I probably should have picked up working with her again this winter given the mild weather and Annabelle's inconsistency.
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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Imperini » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:19 pm

Apparently we're going to get some reasonable weather starting tomorrow. Not sure what everyone else who has been dealing with this cold weather's forecast is looking like but I hope for everyone's sake it's looking warmer too. With it being just past the holidays and in the -20C range we haven't been getting much consistent work in. I won't ride when it's much below -10C/15F as I'd rather be cautious and not work her than work her and regret it so have only ridden a handful of times in the last couple of weeks. The rides I have had have been good for the most part. I've tried twice recently to set up my phone and record some video so I can see if what I feel matches what the video shows except both times I've finished and the phone camera has been off. The only trouble I've ever had before taking video like this is running out of space so I'm not sure what's going on but I'm sure eventually I'll get it to actually record.

My focus for the next month or two in addition to keeping up with many transitions is going to be also making sure there are lots of variations, as in never doing the same thing for very long. I'm finding that Pal can become very focused on me and feel *really* nice but if I don't insist and achieve that focus then she'll auto pilot plod and tune me out or even try and find things to look/spook at. It is like night and day when I "have" her versus when I don't so the good thing is that it's pretty clear when I've gotten things right and once we're there everything becomes super easy it's just that getting there isn't necessarily super easy.

Another thing is that I need to include gentle stretching or yoga in my routine at least a few days a week. I know from past experience how beneficial it is but then unfortunately I just let it escape from my routine. I started back up with it and I'm like oh, wow when I do this I don't have to spend the first 15 - 20 minutes of my ride letting my back and hips loosen up so we can have a much more effective warm up and I feel better balanced right from the start. I feel like kicking myself :lol:

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Ryeissa » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:14 pm

-30 °F -34.44 °C
-20 °F -28.89 °C
-10 °F -23.33 °C
0 °F -17.78 °C
10 °F -12.22 °C
20 °F -6.67 °C
30 °F -1.11 °C
32 °F 0 °C freezing/melting point of water
40 °F 4.44 °C
50 °F 10.00 °C


^^^ handy conversions :)
Hardly riding either, been -20F. yuck.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Rosie B » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:34 pm

Thanks Rye - that's handy!

Winter has thrown a major kink into my plans.

Wednesday evening I rode only briefly - Bliss and I were stalked up and down the driveway (in the dark) by wildlife - I think it was a very large fox but it could have been a small coyote. It kept following us up and down the driveway and each time I turned around and chased it back into the woods but it kept coming back out behind us. It did this 4 times so I said screw it and we went back to the barn. The next day we had a major storm that was supposed to deliver about 12-15 inches of snow, but instead dumped 5" of snow and the rest came as rain. Then temps dropped back down to -25 degrees C so everything froze into an absolute slushy icy mess. The ice is inches thick everywhere. I can't even walk up and down the driveway let alone all the way to the arena. Saturday I rode bareback for 5 minutes on the front lawn - that was all either of us could manage. He had all his blankets on and I was in my snowpants and full body ski gear plus face mask.

Now temps are swinging back up and we're supposed to get more rain over the next couple days. At this rate it'll be weeks before I'm able to get back into my arena, or even ride anywhere, so I am looking into hauling to a nearby indoor for a ride or two. (I don't own a trailer so I'll need to hire one.)

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Sue B » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:33 pm

We had good enough weather for riding this past week, but my schedule wouldn't allow it. Then Saturday, freezing rain! :evil: Turned my arena into a slippery, puddled mess because ground is frozen starting about an inch down. Sunday was gorgeous though, sunny, not windy and maybe breaking into the low 40's. So, of course, I rode both mud balls on the road since arena was not rideable. Rudy got to go clear out to the desert (a couple of miles 1 way) and we had a great time "working" in all 3 gaits. Both of us were in a bit of a sweat by the time we got home. :D :D Tio isn't brave enough (or maybe it's me) to go that far yet, so we just stayed close to home, trotting up and down the road and walking small circles and serpentines. He was very well behaved, which was really nice because I couldn't do a whole lot of in-hand work before hopping on. It still took awhile to get his back loosened up but that's ok.

ETA: I had my son help measure Tio, he is officially 16.1hh now, in bare feet--so he did grow another inch recently.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:53 pm

StraightForward wrote:Well, I got to the arena tonight and Annabelle had decided backing down the ramp was impossible. It was one of the first things I taught her, and she's been great all summer. I don't know what caused the sudden reversal, but it's back to trailer training tomorrow.


I’m especially interested in how Annabelle progresses as I am dealing with trailering issues, too. Maybe it’s just a one time deal with Annabelle and she’ll go right back to loading (or in her case unloading) as usual. Keep us posted!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:39 pm

Today Rocky had a lesson after 6 weeks off due to holidays, travel, weather, my shoulder injury, blah, blah blah. I was so motivated back in September when I started lessons again that I lost 6 pounds without even trying...then, after 6 weeks off I gained it ALL back...without even trying :lol: :cry:

My shoulder isn’t 100% back to normal and it was chilly and very windy today so I had my trainer ride her. Rocky had a very good workout. She was fresh and there is no way I could have given her the workout she needed. When she resisted at first, and wanted to take control of the reins, trainer put her into a canter and then, cantered and cantered and cantered. Rocky wouldn’t give her the outside rein in either direction so she just kept asking (while cantering) and then patting her when she gave it. It took 25 minutes to settle her down and then she trotted her and did some lateral work for 10 minutes and then rode her out the door and around the barnyard on a long rein to cool down. It was exactly what Rocky needed. I still cant believe my good fortune in finding this trainer.

So....after all the trailer training we’ve been doing Rocky hopped right on at home, but she was not the star I was hoping for on the return trip. She got in a couple of times but backed out before I could close the divider. So I asked trainer to put her in for me. It took her a few minutes but she got her in with very little drama. That’s progress, and I am hoping that in time she’ll improve. One thing, I took a different route this time, going and coming. Instead of going on the highway I went through town. This way the speed limit never got over 50 mph. Even though the loading on the return trip wasn’t perfect, I think the slower speed is good for her.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Beorn » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:08 am

Ryeissa wrote:-30 °F -34.44 °C
-20 °F -28.89 °C
-10 °F -23.33 °C
0 °F -17.78 °C
10 °F -12.22 °C
20 °F -6.67 °C
30 °F -1.11 °C
32 °F 0 °C freezing/melting point of water
40 °F 4.44 °C
50 °F 10.00 °C


^^^ handy conversions :)
Hardly riding either, been -20F. yuck.


What's hilarious (and depressing) is how many of those temperatures have happened in just one week here in New England... was below zero (°F) Saturday night; supposed to be in the 50's by Friday.

(back to lurking now..)

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby StraightForward » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:13 am

demi wrote:
StraightForward wrote:Well, I got to the arena tonight and Annabelle had decided backing down the ramp was impossible. It was one of the first things I taught her, and she's been great all summer. I don't know what caused the sudden reversal, but it's back to trailer training tomorrow.


I’m especially interested in how Annabelle progresses as I am dealing with trailering issues, too. Maybe it’s just a one time deal with Annabelle and she’ll go right back to loading (or in her case unloading) as usual. Keep us posted!


I spent the weekend on re-teaching her to back down the ramp. She really thought she might die if she put a back foot on the ramp, and perhaps trying to crabwalk down sideways might be a better option. Yesterday I got her pretty comfortable with it and took her on a 10 minute drive and unloaded fine. Today I hauled her to the indoor, being sure to drive really carefully, and she didn't want to back out when we got there, but after a few minutes she did so reluctantly. When we got home she backed off no problem. Go figure. :lol:

Nice ride tonight, just walk trot. She thought the buckskin practicing reining at the indoor was some sort of alien, and she is not a big fan of horses coming up behind her, so I'll need to find some not too exciting venues to get her more used to focusing when there are other riders in the ring. I did catch a glimpse in the arena mirrors when she was having a nice on the bit moment, and she looked really cute. Leg yield has improved so much from the in-hand work - she just flows right into it at the walk, but still rather disorganized at the trot, which we can't quite do in hand yet either.

Lots of rain in the forecast for tomorrow, so the home arena is going to be a swamp with that on top of the snow melt, so she'll get plenty of practice getting in and out of the trailer.
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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:17 pm

After having a good workout with the trainer on Monday, I took Rocky on a nice trail ride Tuesday and then Tuesday afternoon she had dental work. I usually just have my vet do a power float but I am now switching to a dedicated dentist vet. So....Rocky has a chipped upper molar. The one that goes into the sinuses. X-rays don’t show a problem with the root. It is either that she has layed down a protective layer or that decay has not yet reached the part of the root that protects the nerves (or something like that). Vet recommended re-x-raying in 6 months unless she shows obvious signs like a sinus infection or pain, and then he will check her again immediately. It is possible she may have to have a root canal.

I can continue to work Rocky for now. I gave her two days off after the dental and today I just plan to do light arena work. I like the “ridden Mandela (sp)” exercise and it’s a good one to do at walk and trot for a light workout.

My truck stalled out 5 times yesterday at the grocery store so now it’s in the shop. I have great mechanics and the said it’s probably just a dirty throttle body. Unfortunately they are swamped and probably won’t get it fixed till Monday so that means I may miss my lesson. Dang it.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Moutaineer » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:27 pm

Laddie is doing really well, moving great, packing on the muscle like nobody's business. It's so interesting, he's gone from looking quite rangy to being a square, tank-shaped horse almost overnight--well, there has been quite a lot of work involved in concentrated topline development and careful feeding to gradually increase his calorie intake to match his work without turning him into a raving loon.

I think he looks better than he ever has, and he's relaxed and happy in his work and life in general.

I believe horses react to the atmosphere in the barn. There has been a lot of staff drama at our little boarding barn over the past year. Now the crazy is over (and quite a story...) all the horses are much more mellow both in the barn and in their work. Particularly noticeable as we have been living on a sheet of ice this week so turnout has not been happening.

I get to take a lesson with the lovely Margo tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to getting her help with strengthening exercises, and her reaction to how he is developing :)

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:23 am

My updates:
My horse is actually white in winter! (because it was in the 60s on Thursday and I bathed her--she now has her blanket and hoody on)
But all we did today was walk (because the arena and ground is quite frozen again). And it is getting colder again :o
And, I am more convinced than ever that all of the little stuff (walking, trailer loading, in hand work, showing up and riding even when it is cold and miserable, etc.) is actually the big stuff.

Glad to hear the updates--be well everyone.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:55 am

piedmontfields wrote:...But all we did today was walk (because the arena and ground is quite frozen again). And it is getting colder again :o
And, I am more convinced than ever that all of the little stuff (walking, trailer loading, in hand work, showing up and riding even when it is cold and miserable, etc.) is actually the big stuff...



I very much agree. All of the little stuff is actually the big stuff. And that’s why I like hearing about all the little stuff dressage riders do with their horses because for me, it’s the whole journey, not just the levels.I enjoy the pics you post of Emi. I can tell she is a happy dressage horse even though I haven’t seen very many dressage pictures of her. She looks great for a 16 yr old.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby demi » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:02 am

Mountaineer, it doesn’t surprise me that Laddie looks better than he ever has. I think all the re-hab work is along the lines of “the little stuff” that Piedmont was talking about. NOT that it was little stuf that you did in the re-hab, I know you put a lot of effort and though into it, but it was non-dressage stuff. And yet, it contributes in a very large way to the making of a good dressage horse. I am looking forward to the pics when you start showing him again!

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Rosie B » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:06 am

Thanks to our weird and wacky weather, I actually had a proper ride today!

The past 3 days have seen above freezing temps and copious amounts of rain. All the ice in my arena was finally gone this morning and I had a ride in the gale force winds and torrential rain. Despite not having cantered since Dec. 24th and not having trotted since New Year's Day, Bliss minded his manners beautifully. He was very go-ey, which was fun. I could almost feel his joy to be moving freely. His canter and trot were both HUGE right off the get go, and he felt strong in the contact, a little too strong at times, but given the wild weather I was ok with it.

I'm just amazed that he can go out there in weather conditions like that after three weeks of only the lightest of work and be perfectly behaved. What a horse he is. <3

After we finished and I was leaving the arena though he was an uncharacteristically hot tamale on the walk back down the driveway to the barn. It's almost like he was saying "Mom, I did everything you asked. It's just gross outside, I'm tired of the wind and rain blowing up my bum, let's just hustle back to the barn, shall we?" LOL

Speaking of which, at one point the water was actually pouring down my backside. TMI warning - Even my underwear were drenched post ride.

Mountaineer - also looking forward to seeing pics!!
peidmont - I don't know how much value there is in getting on and just walking around, but if that's all I can do, I still do it. I figure every little bit helps.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Flight » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:44 am

Very impressed you rode in such bad weather! I've been drenched riding a motor bike - the water gets you in the crotch though :lol:

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby Dresseur » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:06 pm

I had a slow start to the new year. Along with everyone else, PA got hit with crazy cold temps. I'm usually one that rides in pretty cold weather as we have an indoor that is usually 5-10 degrees warmer than the outside temps. However, this was just too cold, so Miro took the week off and went for strolls around the property and the indoor instead. As soon as it warmed up, we were back at it because Andrea was coming to give him a look-see last Wednesday.

I've been a mess lately with him. He's taken to bolting on the longe line, and when he wasn't bolting, he wasn't longing properly (diving in to me, making odd shapes and I've been chasing him around trying to make him keep a large circle). Quite frankly, the feel under saddle has not been great either. Please note, I am not expecting it to be great - it's more that he was feeling more and more disconnected and more rammy in the bridle, and his circles have been leaning over more and more and more. So, my anxiety has been through the roof because I didn't know how much I should correct him, if I could correct him, how much I should or should not be doing with him etc., etc. I knew what I needed to do to correct it: think renver around the circle, have one conversation with him about getting the hell out of my space on the longe, but because I felt so unsure, and am so terrified of him coming up lame again, I've been incredibly frustrated and to scared to make any corrections at all. To cap it off, after the week off, he suddenly looked off on the right hind - which sent me into tears.

So, the upside is the Andrea came, looked him over, longed him and basically told me to get my shit together and work him properly (no lateral work). It's been enough time since the injury, he's been acting like a royal fool on the line (can't blame him) and has stayed sound through all the shenanigans, and that nothing I will do to him on the longe or under saddle will be worse that what he's already done to himself. So, w/t/c and discipline as usual when he takes his mile from the the inch I've given him. In the riding work, stay in the canter longer to unwind him and to start working on the gaits again, and to start thinking positioning him in the lateral work, without doing lateral work so that I start correcting the feel under saddle. The weird thing he was doing in the right hind was a half of a canter step - every time he did it, he'd pop into canter a stride later.

Also, as soon as it warms up again (we've dipped way below freezing again), we'll start turnout. That will be the last hurdle.

Needless to say, I am relieved. I feel like I can stop worrying about every little thing he does or doesn't do, and just start training again. Of course, that means something will go horribly wrong :?.

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Re: It's thermal underwear time - Jan/Feb goals and progress!

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:47 pm

Well, maybe it's not a huge thing to just get on and walk when the weather is crappy. But I try to be attentive when I do it. I do have hundreds of acres to walk around when the ring is frozen.

Where I ride, any walking hack is a hill workout. So that is something. It also makes me very aware of straightness and connection, as we have to navigate terrain properly. I also like to work on my position (esp. my recalcitrant and post-injury right side) on these walks. And given that Emi used to "not walk but prance" when walking (years ago, when I first got her), I don't really take a decent walk for granted! :D

Dresseur, I'm glad you have the support of Andrea to get to work. You and Mountaineer have especially been through the ringer. It is hard to work in a way that doesn't worry about "breaking" them, even when that is what they need.

Demi, thanks for your kind words. I just found a bunch of pretty horse picture frames when sorting through closets and need to get good photos of Emi under saddle. I ride alone way too much and when I ride with others, I forget to ask for photos (although I often take photos of others!). My DH is a good photographer but has better things to do than watch me ride! :lol:

Susan, I'm glad your ballerina mare is well! Hope you are able to get back in the saddle more as the weather improves.


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