I was able to get out to the farm to ride this evening in between thunderstorms. We desperately need the rain, but its hard to coordinate riding with time off from work and good weather! I was able to wait the thundering/lightning out (and watch the Belmont) though. Around 7:15 I was up on Lego and we had a GREAT ride. We warmed up with about 7minutes of walking...which it takes us a few minutes to walk to our "training area"...since we don't have a ring...yet. I actually prefer not having an arena most of the time, but sometimes it would be really nice to have one. During our warming up we work on circles and bending through turns. The circles get progressively more intricate, adding in some serpentines and things like that once we are warmed up. Then we picked up a trot and trotted nice and straight (also a challenge) and bending through the turns. This is where not have an arena comes in handy. I had read that George Morris has his equitation students sometimes ride in a field and he'll pick the shape of the riding area that day. So for example, he might have them ride a square, a circle, oval, triangle, etc. I have found myself implementing that same thing in the past with Chick and really liked it. With Chick I'd also move around my riding area. At our old farm we had a flat area at the top of the pasture that was almost exactly the size/shape of a ring, but sometimes we'd go down and do our whole training ride at the bottom of the pasture where it was just slightly sloped. I think it made us focus on balance, rhythm, and carrying ourselves a lot better than a flat space.
Anyway, while we were trotting I focused on riding a square then an oval, then a circle, etc. on the long sides of the oval I'd throw in a few circles too. After a walk break we'd do the same thing again, only this time we trotted smaller circles and did changes of direction. Lego was doing SO well tonight that I got really gutsy and decided we'd try cantering! This is the first time we've done it (intentionally anyway...). I asked him with outside leg, inside rein which he was a little confused about, but after some clucking he picked up the right lead and we cantered the long side and through the turn of an oval. Wow he has a big canter. Its awesome though! I asked him to come back down to a trot and he did so beautifully. We took a walk break and did the same thing on the other side. I tried to do it so we were facing away from the barn and his friends each time :) We cantered twice on each side and he did great. Im so excited about this horse! We finished with a few more bending exercises at the trot and then cooled out.
Total ride time: 30 min (due to storm)
Goal: Add more trotting for conditioning, work on straight-a-ways
I then rode Chick around the farm, I didn't want to overdo it since he had been lame 1.5 weeks ago so we just walked. I did make him go up and down the long hills though! :) We went over to the pond/lake and he is expressing interest in it, even though I know he knows that I know that he hates water! :) I had him stand with just the tips of his hooves barely touching the water and just relaxed for a couple of minutes. Georgia (my 3 year old yellow labrador retriever) was going crazy running around and jumping into the water, splashing around, then sprinting around us, then back in the water she'd go! We did some more hills and walking around (I challenged myself by riding in 2 point the whole time) and that was about it!
Total ride time: 30 minutes
Goal: Slow conditioning