January 25, 2014

Shoulder In, Haunches In

After another snowstorm, I miraculously made it to the barn for a makeup lesson today.  On the way there, the roads were great.  While I was there, 40MPH winds kicked up and the roads looked like this on the way back:

Blinding white outs, snow devils and drifts so big I got snow in my grill.  I'd say it was dangerous to take a photo while driving but I was going 5MPH so...you know.
Luckily, it was worth it to see this fellow:

"I don't think this goes like this, mom..."
Today's lesson was described as a tuneup for tomorrow's team practice, and we spent most of it switching back and forth between shoulders in and haunches in.  She nailed me on making sure my hands were working as a unit, and that my torso was able to move freely between them.  Adding to the challenge was riding in my jump saddle, since she wants me to get super comfortable in that position so that I don't have to think so much about it over fences.

Pony worked hard and got sweaty for the first time since I clipped him.  Since I can't afford body clippers until next fall, this will become a common sight until he's done shedding!
At the end, we did a couple of quick canter transitions each direction, since she wanted to work on canter but didn't want him to get any more sweaty.  She had me keep him in a shoulder in position to pick up the canter and focus on really having him between my inside leg and outside hand.  "Wow!  Did you feel that?" she said, "He really sat down and lowered his croup!"  Turns out that the problems I have in the middle of the canter are mitigated if I have a quality upward transition, and all this time I've been trying to get into the canter however we can, THEN fix the problem.  Lesson learned!

The coolest thing lately is that every ride since about mid-December, he's ready to go from the moment I get on, and we can actually DO things like drill haunches in and shoulder in, because he's on my aids enough to do it.  He starts out long and low and mouthing the bit in my warmup, and when I pick him up to start work, he's there.  No more giraffe-pony - except when the ice slid off the roof during 40MPH winds today.  But I felt like that was justified.

The boots fit the horse as well as the human!

Now time for that team practice tomorrow.  I hear we're doing them so that we're "all on the same page, working on the same things" and that we'll be doing a lot of jumping.  Bring it on!


  1. Having a team practice sounds like a blast!! Gives me pony club flash backs and I like it :)

    1. I'm with you, it's been four years since I was last in a team practice. I'm really looking forward to it!

  2. Replies
    1. It was. I have had a string of good rides lately for the first time, things have just changed with him recently.

  3. Awesome! Love to hear Connor and you doing so well. Those white outs and snow drifts are scary! I had to drive through some yesterday too. . .can't see anything!

    1. Oh my, I had never driven through anything like that, you're right! They were so scary. Less scary because I know those roads and there wasn't much traffic, but still, I couldn't see the ditch or the road or anything, it was all just level snow in most places. 38 on Saturday, we can make it!

  4. Can't wait to hear about you team practice. It sounds like a blast!