Thursday, 7 May 2015

April Review

April has been an amazing month weatherwise as it has been hot and sunny.  The horses have had lots of time out without their rugs which they love.  They have been rolling and generally enjoying themselves with the sun on their backs and the new grass shoots starting to appear. 

As far as riding is concerned this month has been a bit mixed I had great plans for pushing myself more and on some days this has worked well.  The last couple of weeks have been tough, losing Fidget has affected my confidence a little for some reason and my unsettled feelings have been transferring to Basil.  I have also not hacked out because I did not want to leave Chesney on his own. 

My April Aims for Basil were: 

  1. Calmness, rhythm and suppleness in all paces - definitely better. 
  2. Consistency of bend on left rein - small improvement from last month. 
  3. Halt transitions from trot - our downwards transitions are improving all the time. 
  4. Leg yield away from track, improve -  so pleased with this, walk and trot. 
  5. Trot to walk to trot exercise, try shorter trot and walk sections - improvements seen. 
  6. Canter to trot transitions - again, improvements seen. 
  7. Jumping, single fence, increase height and continue work on canter rhythm up to and after - yeah! 
  8. Turn on the forehand - improving, Basil understands what I am asking for. 
  9. Lunge in bridle as I would like to introduce side reins soon. FAIL FAIL FAIL 
  10. Pilates. FAIL FAIL FAIL  
The fact that I still haven't managed to do our Pilates exercises shows how bad I am at introducing new things.  I guess it is partly time constraints as I want to ride when I can and other jobs to keep the horses healthy take priority!  I have taken it off the list for May as it is getting a bit embarrassing but I will still try to do these!

This is what April looked like:

3rd - lunged, sort of!  He was really silly today, bucked, bombed around in canter and then ran off.  I couldn't hold him so he got away.  We did come back on the circle again, but he was generally in a silly mood today!

2nd  - hack, went past the pigs which he takes little notice of now, chilled time.

3rd - schooled, our walk and trot transitions are definitely better.  We tried cantering a 20 m circle at each end, changing the rein in trot across the centre line, really pleased with him.  Walking leg yield was great (away from track), in trot it took a while to get right.  However, he tried and that is the main thing.  Turn on forehand is better when moving away from my right leg - no surprise.

5th - hacked out today.  Very good.

6th - schooled, we jumped.  Introducing a pole on the ground (in place of a jump) as we are working up to a 1 stride double - see my blog about this.   Tick!

7th - lunged, much better today, walk, trot and canter both reins. No roller. 

8th - hacked out again - lovely ride, Basil is so good on the road.

13th - lunged, as last time.

14th - schooled, flat again today.  Our downward transitions out of canter are definitely improving. Basil is responding more quickly and I am trying to give him all the right signals with my seat.  Again our turn on the forehand is better away from my right leg.

15th - hack , met quite a few dogs today, but as long as they don't chase us Basil is fine.

16th - lunged, good session again today, he is a pleasure to lunge somedays.

17th - hacked out, jumped out of his skin at some new logs in a driveway today - daft!

19th - flat schooled today, really good today.  We did some lovely leg yield in trot towards and away from the track.  Turn on the forehand continues to improve and some lovely half circles in walk.  We again used the canter 20 m circle exercise with a change of rein across the centre line.  The advantage with Basil is that he canters with the lightest touch and as long as I have the correct bend we get the right leg.  If I don't he strikes off incorrectly when we are on the left rein!

20th - lunged, again very well behaved today.

23rd - lunged, I did not want to separate Chesney and Basil for long today so just lunged for 10 minutes and he was very good.

24th - schooling, flat again. For some reason I felt nervous today (unsettled because of Fidget) and this transferred to Basil. He was spooky for no reason today.  We stuck to walk and trot with circles and serpentines.  Also, Basil coughed quite a bit today so I am going to soak his hay for a while - just in case.

27th - lunged, lunatic again today - no idea why!  Eventually he did settle but I can't decide if he is a bit stiff!

28th - flat schooling, definitely better than last time.  I was still feeling a bit unsettled and it was a bit windy but Basil settled quickly.  We did THE BEST trot serpentines we have achieved yet, as Basil usually gets too fast and unbalanced.  We did a slightly different exercise where we trotted our 20 m circles, picked up canter and cantered across the diagonal before returning to trot for the corner.  This was a good exercise for Basil as he likes to canter for longer and tends to get stronger the longer we canter too.

My May Aims for Basil are:

  1. Calmness, rhythm and suppleness in all paces. 
  2. Consistency of bend on left rein, this is definitely our BIG problem. 
  3. Halt transitions from trot. 
  4. Trot to walk to trot exercise, try to achieve the exercise detailed in this blog. 
  5. Canter to trot transitions - continue to improve the time taken! 
  6. Jumping, 1 stride doubles, in a good sensible canter rhythm. 
  7. Turn on the forehand - improve movement away from left leg. 
  8. Introduce half circles in trot. 
  9. Learn a dressage test (prelim 1) and practice at home. 
  10. Lunge in bridle as I would like to introduce side reins soon.  MUST DO THIS.

Have you seen yesterday's video?  'Spring Makeovers
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Until next time!

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