Monday, January 24, 2011

Indoor Activities!

video

Some refer to it as "The Circle of Death." In fact, I think that perhaps that is what Freddie Mac himself thought of the Cartwheel exercise the first couple of times that he was subjected to my indoor training exercise of the week. Those long legs of his were meant to swallow up the ground on a cross country course! After watching the video, however, I think that you will agree with me when I say that he is a bigger and better horse because of it, and yours can be, too!

This time of year you have to be as creative as possible with 5 or 6 days a week of riding inside, and I try to add a little variety by changing my jumping exercises and locations every couple of days. This week I had anybody and everybody jumping around my Cartwheel, a 25ish meter circle, with 4 verticals set around the circle. If you were a bird flying above my arena (and somehow dodging our BigAss Fans) you would think you were looking down upon the face of a clock, with verticals placed at 12, 3, 6 and 9. You don't have to make the jumps high to get a proper work out! In the video they were 3'. By continuously cantering around the circle, you and the horse both can get into a positive cycle of rhythm and balance. By counting strides and adjusting the arc of your circle you can work on your eye, and perfect over and over again certain aspects of your position. It is a great exercise for teaching horses how to land on a correct lead for their direction of travel. You can ask Splash, she was on a left handed Circle of Death for longer than she cares to talk about lol.

I place my Cartwheel so that I can continue on and off of the verticals on the longside as though I were jumping into an outside line. For example, that was how I started the Cartwheel in Freddie's video posted above. I jumped a simple cross rail and then continued on and jumped the vertical that began my right handed cartwheel. Jumping the exercise in this manner prevents horses from rushing down the outside lines.

Many thanks to Lara for somehow filming Freddie's training session on the Cartwheel without getting dizzy or ill. I hope that you all found this to be educational, and go on and try this at home!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1-11-11

Coco was looking very interested in today's jumping exercises from the moment she walked into the indoor!

I mean, it had to be a great day when we had nothing but "1s" in the date! Certainly my favorite number, and certainly where I like all of my horses and students to end up at the end of the day! Which brings me right into today's goodness. It all started with the momentum of a fantastic weekend. I can now say it without panic, I turned 30 on Friday! I got to spend the day and the night and early the next morning with many of the special people in my life (stuffed into a limo and clubbing in DC for a good part of it). This weekend was also action packed with Key School Equestrian Team practices and competition. CONGRATULATIONS to all of my riders, we had a really productive practice on Saturday and a fun although bitterly cold competition on Sunday. Icing on the birthday cupcakes was the fact that we were once again the Champion school. With 2 more competitions left for the year, I think things are looking great for a strong finish. I plan on blogging more about this team and particularly this past competition in my next blog, so stay tuned there.
Today, however, we were talking about today. Started things off with a free oil change, tire rotation and inspection on the truck courtesy of Ourisman Chevrolet in Bowie. They asked me if I wanted to wait around a little longer for them to wash it. Hmm, let me think about that. The dually won't fit in any carwash in the state and if you are offering, at 8 in the morning when it isn't even 30 degrees out, to wash my entire 4 door long bed pick-up truck, for FREE, hip hip hooray! Looking and feeling good about that I proceeded to the barn, on the way setting up not one but two appointments on Sunday for prospective buyers to look at horses we have for sale. On a side note there people, we have some horses that we would love to sell before we leave for Aiken so check out these eligible critters at:

http://blueclovereventing.com/Sale%20Horses/SaleHorses.html

The footing in the new indoor - hands down the best Maryland has to offer - has really settled nicely and I had a fun course set of footwork exercises mixed in with some scary things to beat the winter blues. The Coco Puff and The Mac excelled on several exercises. All of our winter dressage drilling and strengthening exercises are really paying off according to today's successes! After some tough counter canter work, Morris ended his ride with the trot of his life. I sure hope he plans on bringing that to a dressage arena near you this coming season! Speaking of which, we got to enter Pine Top Advanced today, I can't believe it! I know it is sleeting outside and 20 degrees; but the entering process for Aiken events is underway and I have an advanced horse this season! Aiken is going to be busy, we have 7 definitely leaving on Jan 31 and it feels like that will be here in no time. And some more exciting news on the Aiken front, Linda was home today for a quick visit, brought a lovely owner with her and it felt like Idlewilde was alive for an hour or so today. Got to catch up on all things Wellington, and more importantly we confirmed that I have finally lured her out of FL and into Aiken for a clinic February 23 and 24. More information to follow about Aiken, dates, and the Linda Zang clinic specifically; but rest assured Morris and Fred Fred will be getting prime spots :)
The sleet/freezing rain/snow held off at least for a couple of very productive evening lessons. Lara's horse even decided tonight was a good night to successfully pick up and canter on his left lead. Are we good, or what?! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!