August 13, 2009

New tools in the toolbox

My small guineapig

I just love to get new, useful exercises to play around with together with my horse.
Everything that is useful I stock in my toolbox like a squirrel stores nuts before winter.
Unfortunately, like a squirrel, I also forget some of them.
But as these are shining new, I remember them at least for now.

So I will generously share my stolen goods with you guys, and hope you can have some fun out of it like me!

After walking Fame on loose reins for 10 min, I pick up the reins and use Trudi's Giravolta.
It is like a turn on the forehand, but you let the frontlegs move in a small circle.
If you click the link, Trudi was nice to explain it in detail on her blog, and adding a video too!
Thanks Trudi!
I have used it to loosen Fame up, and activate her hindlegs.
When she starts to work proper, lifting her back and using her abdominal muscles I get those lovely grunts. Yes!
When I feel she is responding well to lateral aids on both sides and also thinking forward, I start to work with shoulder in on half circles in trot - similar exercise. Shifting over from half circle right to half circle left, and so on.
Again, I want her to respond to the lateral aids and engage behind, be a bit quick in her reactions and flexible in her sides.

Then we start with the David Oliveira work.
Leg yield in canter along the longside, haunches in.
When approaching the corner I place her in a slightly travers position, to prepare her for a volte.
I shift my weight towards the inside, turn my upper body into the turn and raise the outer hand slightly going into the volte with the outside rein resting on the neck. The inside hand opens the rein slightly, just to guide her in the turn, but with an immidiate release (placing the volte close to the corner towards the inside of the arena).
The volte is small, and she has to find the balance by herself by engaging behind. I keep a soft contact on the outside rein (still placed on the neck) but my inside rein is loose to facilitate this. My inner leg activates her inner hind and helps her to balance.

After the volte, a transition to walk, 4-5 steps, and then new canter, new lead. Again leg yield, volte. We play around with this for a while, and combine the walk with some rein back.
I don't bother much about the form, I just want her to work with me and to be quick in the reactions. We ride a bit like Ben Cartwright, as Mugs would say!
She finds the work fun, and I have a nice way of getting her quicker in her reactions and giving her a good workout too.

She had somehow managed to get a cut on her back being out the other day, just where the back of the saddle is laying (of course), so I have been riding bareback since.
Today she was full of pep and saw ghosts everywhere, so I just put her to work on the Oliveira-exercises and let her work off that surplus energy. Bwa-ha-ha!
She got nice and warm.
Me too.
Then we rounded off with some normal dressage work.
She could concentrate a bit more on the work after this, and she felt fine.
I ride bareback about once a week otherwise too, now when she is a bit more adult than she was a year or two ago. Earlier it would have been a bit too exciting.
It is good for my balance, and I can feel Fame's back better than with a saddle. And it is quicker, on those days that I am lazy...

Tomorrow Jimmi, the Danish trainer, is coming again. I will probably have to work bareback tomorrow too.


Kate said...

Nice bits of work! What type of bitless/sidepull is she wearing in the picture?

HorseOfCourse said...

Kate - she is wearing a sidepull with a rawhide noseband.