January 26, 2013

Awesome Hack Out, with Lots of Pictures!

Today's ride was definitely the most fun Connor and I have ever had together.
He doesn't know what he's in for as he's being tacked up.
It was a balmy 30 degrees with no wind and the sun shining, which is the warmest it's been all week, so I decided to abandon my plans to work on getting a quality canter out of him and take him on a hack. We have miles of farm fields owned by the farm's owner to ride around, and there are XC jumps in various places as well.
Where we went - starting in front of the indoor and going out-and-back.  We could have kept going if I wanted.
He LOVED it!  His ears were pricked, his eyes were bright, and he only had one big spook when some quail flew out of the trees.  I insisted that he go straight down the trail, and leg yield when asked.  Now that my trainer has me so tuned in to his straightness or lack thereof, I can't ignore it, and it's amazing, because when he's truly traveling straight - when my reins could be yardsticks - he's connected.  My half-halts have so much more of an effect than they did this time last year.  He went down the trail like a Dressage pony, and we did some really lovely trot sets like that.

There are XC jumps all along the route.
On the way back, he was just so attuned to me that I couldn't resist cantering.  (Don't worry, the photos makes it look snowy, but the grass track was mostly clear and the topsoil just thawed enough to make it really nice to ride on.)  I asked him for a canter and was amazed to find that I got the exact canter that I had hoped to develop through a Dressage session in the indoor today.  He was rocked back, his knees were coming up so high I could see them in front of him, and he felt like a coiled spring ready to move into a higher gear at any moment, rather than flat like we got at the show.

We ended up doing three canters up and down the long tree line on the left of the map above, which is over 1/3 mile long.  He loved every second of it, and despite being nervous that he would pull a cat crouch spook at a canter, I did too.  I realized that a lot of my problem with his canter in the indoor is motivation and impulsion, which is why he's so much better outside. As I can, I'm going to try to work on the canter in the outdoor Dressage ring across the road (humorously visible in the map next to the 2 mile mark - you can see how good our corners are!) to solve the impulsion problem as I iron out the other problems I have at the canter. 

A few more photos:

Trippy blurring going on in this picture, as he moved right when I took it.

Good pony got lots of treats afterward!


  1. Sounds like you are working out what motivates him - fun!

  2. Motivation and impulsion - you hit the nail on the head with that statement about cantering outdoors vs cantering indoors! Sounds like a blast!

  3. awesome!! sounds like a great ride! I bet he loved the change of scenery!