Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Arena Update

Arena Update

Dante has been sound, but the wound on his heel where the abscess burst out became aggravated the week before—probably from crossing the river, so we decided to keep him dry until our 4-day weekend this week. Consequently, Ellen rode him in the arena this weekend.

She has been having problems with him drifting off the wall and cutting the corners. On Saturday, I let her warm up and watched what they were doing. I saw some very lovely trotting, but she was having problems. I haven’t ridden Dante in the arena in many months, so I thought I would take a spin on him. I wanted to determine if the problem she was having was rider error or an evasive horse. Dante is such a cooperative guy, I really thought it was Ellen. So did she.

I cruised around for a while and had no trouble at all. That meant, I had to figure out what I was doing right.

Now, confession time. Ellen and I never had a real lesson. (Have you seen the prices of lessons? We have horses! How can we afford lessons!) We are self-taught with the help of books and a few DVDs. Our favorites are Mary Wanless and Jane Savoie. Mary to help us with the riding and Jane to help us with the training. Overall, I think we’ve done pretty good.

I have had way more arena experience than Ellen because I have had more horses, and I can’t ride on the trail much of the year because of the dark evenings. Ellen is able to ride in the morning. I have been forced to spend the more time in the arena than her. Besides, I’m the big sister.

I realized that the aids I used to keep Dante on the wall and in the corners were a strong thigh when I felt him deviate and an indirect inside rein combined with my thigh as I approached a corner. I explained what I was doing with Ellen, and then it was her turn. She walked him around in the more difficult direction, and not surprisingly, Dante understood what she wanted. I had her trot a lap—and wallah! It was like they had been doing it all along. She wanted to quit, but I told her to do one more lap to get the feeling in place. She repeated her success. She found out she just needed to work a little harder.

On Sunday when she rode him in the arena, she didn’t even need me. They trotted around like a dream. Of course, when you work harder, you get warn out. Once she reached the exhaustion phase, we went outside to walk around. She now has something to work on when I’m not around.

We took Ranger and Cole on lovely rides each day.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

I've only had a year of dressage lessons. Everything else I learned from books and my dad (western riding in general, not dressage from him). :)