"Day 1" Rides

I've gotten several comments asking about my new weekly riding routine with Connor, now that I'm riding 5-6 days a week.  I'm not quite ready to write that post yet - I still feel like I'm figuring that out myself - but I have noticed some little patterns.

One of those little patterns is that the first ride back after a day off is always "meh".  It's not bad, but it's not going to knock my socks off.  It won't be the ride in which we school something challenging or new.

Not going to get this level of straightness on a Day 1 ride

Realizing that has helped me temper my expectations, especially after business trips.  I go into the first ride aiming for soft, bendy, on my aids, stretching over his back and seeking the contact.  I get there, and I quit, no matter how badly I want to keep going.

It's been such a healthy realization for my super-competitive mind to acknowledge that there's an ebb and flow to the week, and to the quality of work we get each ride - and that it's on a more granular spectrum than just "day off" to "hack" to "Dressage schooling."  There are Dressage schooling days, and then there are Dressage Schooling Days.

I'd be okay with getting here on Day 1.  Also, man things have changed a lot since Pony Cup.

It's also helped me maximize my lessons.  If you remember my schedule from the old barn, I never came out to the barn on Wednesdays, and my lessons were always on Thursdays.  So, our lessons have almost always been Day 1 rides in the past.

Now, I'm able to see a lesson coming, make sure I ride the day before so that we can genuinely work on tough stuff in the lesson, and plan Connor's off-days accordingly.  It's helping me take baby steps toward feeling out a real weekly schedule.

10 comments:

  1. I love when you know yourself and your horse well enough to make choices like that. :-)

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    1. Absolutely. I never knew him well enough, really, when he was living 50 minutes away, to realize things like this.

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  2. I was just talking about this idea with my FIL. It seems like lots of people forget that the work out week has an ebb and flow like your, and horses don't come out like motorcycles - the same every day. Same as leading up to a show - I always try to maximize my work that week so that my horse comes out fresh and happy for the show, not tired and wondering why he's working so hard on a "Friday".

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    1. Definitely. Or even if you consciously realize that, it's so easy to get frustrated that a particular movement is "meh" one day when you KNOW that horse can do it better. They aren't robots. Totally agree with you on the show thing too, this has definitely helped me plan that week leading up to a show better than probably any other week!

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  3. It's so important to be able to notice little things like that - they can make a big difference in how you plan your rides!

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    1. Very much so. I am still not a very good ride planner, but at least I know that we won't be forcing the issue on something complex/new on days that we're not set up for success on that.

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  4. I'm still jealous that you live so close to the barn! I've been starting to find the same with Katai. I've always thought that Katai would feel better after a day off but in practice that isn't the case. I still haven't figured out the best routine but I'm starting to get closer :)

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  5. That is so interesting- I find the same thing with Carmen- there's a definite flow to the riding and what I should expect.

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  6. It can definitely be hard when you are competitive, I suffer the same lol

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  7. A few years ago I learnt that the first ride after a day off is always meh on both horses, which was really helpful that my expectations for those rides is much lower and all that I want is for them to move forwards from my leg aid. Just having that one thing that I am allowed to expect has really helped me feel better after those rides!

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