change of riding plans

Last night we made the all too familiar trek to the barn. Not too far down the road I realized, I forgot to switch into my sports bra!! Yikes! I know you women can related to what went through my mind...in a nutshell, I'll only be able to walk my horse. I had to change my riding plan. 

My kind hubby offered to turn around and go back home, but I didn't want to spend the extra time. Then the funny guy showed up, and asked "do you want to put an extra one of those in my glove box too"?? Ha ha ha. Yes, it's an inside joke. His glove box contains several of my things that I forget and apparently can't live without. 

Koda & I did some extended walk with figure eights, a little bending, attempted some 3 tracking and eventually I tried to trot a little. Um yea, let's just say that didn't last long. I decided to focus the rest of our ride on my leg cues, something we are in dire need of. I rely too much on my hands.

I wrapped the reins around the horn, because no matter how hard I try to hold my hands still and not use them, I end up moving them a little. Old habits die hard. The plan was to only use my legs and seat to cue, and when needed add my arms and voice. Back in the day I used to take entire group lessons without reins at all gaits, which can be very valuable (and scary at times). 

I had three cones lined up the length of the arena. We started by walked the outsides, stopping at each cone, and turning at the ends to walk the other side. I added directional changes, and an unexpected Nemo wall, where we had to tighten our turns. We proceeded to adding circles in-between and around cones. No traditional weaving in-between them, because Koda anticipates it. 

He was being a rockstar listener, until the grain cart started rolling down the aisles. I had to add my whoa! voice when he didn't respond to my seat/legs at the cone stops, that worked. I backed him up (with reins) to where he should have stopped. I also had to reach down at the gate end of the arena to add a little rein aid to help him focus on the turn I was asking for, and not the grain cart.

Overall I was really pleased, and it was a huge improvement over the last time I tried riding Koda without reins. I'll have to mix it into our rides more often. There is so much that can be done by adding gait changes, poles, etc. We all know how important legs/seat are for communication.

Incase you are wondering, I won't be adding articles of clothing to my husbands glove box anytime soon. A change of riding plans can be a good thing. 


C-ingspots said...

Yep, I can totally relate! :) Sometimes I find that only through the walk can we really focus on our cues. I believe that we accomplish more training maneuvers with our horses walking than at any other gait, and that only once we've perfected the movements at the walk, should we proceed to adding speed and then building upon what was done perfectly at the walk. We people are all too often, impatient and want everything done right now. If we would learn to slow way down, and learn that only "perfect practice makes perfect", we would advance so much more quickly because we and our horses have the foundation intact. It's not easy, I too want to gallop and feel the wind in my air, and the exhileration (how do you spell that word!?) that only speed can bring...but, that's for letting down and having fun. When we really want to communicate and perfect, we fall back to the walk. My two cents. Glad to hear you and your horse are enjoying everything so much.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Ditto what C-ing spots said. I believe perfecting everything at the walk before moving on to more advanced work. Sounds like you and Koda had a wonderful ride! Glad you didn't wind up putting an eye out during your trot work... ;)

The Dancing Donkey said...

I know that trouble all too well:) I'm glad you had a good ride regardless. Sometimes, its best to get rid of plans and just go with what you've got.

Shirley said...

Cowboy Dressage calls the walk the King of Gaits.

aurora said...

I knew you would all relate *^*

Sherry Sikstrom said...

I think we learn and teach the very most at the walk. And I hear you on the bra. There are just some things a gal needs to be comfortable for