Spit polish

Ahh spring, a joyous time of insect bites and grass with too much sugar.

The boys had the farrier come out last night. Coolies feet were in a state which is normal for this time of year. What was not normal was the amount of toe flare happening because fatty has had too much sugar. So he is now in the Jenny Craig paddock and I'm pretty sure Henry is laughing at him.

I had a lesson this morning and got as far as loading Coolie before I spotted a huge bite right where his girth goes. So I unloaded him stuck him back in the paddock and grabbed Henry (after they both ran around like lunatics for a couple of minutes). I think it was Coolie's turn to laugh at Henry when I caught him.

Today was cool and wet and after a day off, the change in weather, and all the good feed in the paddock I was expecting some young horse shenanigans. He seemed his usual quiet self though as I tacked up and started warming up.

I updated Bec on what we had been up to and Bec adjusted my position. She had me stand straight u in my stirrups, which put my leg straight underneath me. Then I sat down keeping my leg in that position, and just closing my knee. From there we set about adjusting Henry within the paces. We started at walk which was easy, then progressed to trot. Much harder for baby horses! Henry struggled with shortening his stride, especially to the right where he isn't as straight.

Bec had me focus on straightening Henry, then asking him to shorten his stride. it was so much easier when he was straight which drills home the self carriage thing just a little bit more. To the left things were much easier because he is so much straighter.

To help us stay straight, Bec had me ride a 20m diamond, and really open my inside hand to turn so I could see the bit rings. This helped us a great deal and made changing the pace much easier. 

We took the same exercise into canter, which was so much easier to adjust than the trot. This is mostly because Henry has a really good canter, and because he is more balanced and happier int he canter. He still found sitting back on his hocks hard and his tail got very swishy until he couldn't handle it any more and he threw in a little buck. It was a fairly pathetic attempt and thanks to my position tweak I didn't more or change anything so the poor horse had to keep doing the thing.

It was a very productive lesson, it's always useful to have eyes on the ground and check-ins to make sure I am on the right track with Henry. Bec and I also spent quite some time discussing some of the more psychological aspects of riding. I have had a few realisations of late about my progress and ultimate goals with the horses which have helped me gain some more confidence and also take the pressure off myself. This has meant that suddenly I have been really enjoying just riding the horses, and focussing on competition goals a little less.

It has also meant that suddenly riding with Henry is super fun because I'm not worrying about taking him out to compete and having him (and me!) getting very nervous. Instead I have started just enjoying the process again and in turn have found myself wanting to take him different places again. Funny how it works like that. We discussed how competition is fun, and that we want to do as well as we can but really it's about being the best trainer and have horses that really know their jobs. I feel confident that I am well on the road with Henry and that Coolie is there. I feel confident that I could step him up a grade tomorrow if I chose, and that is a really super place to be!

Sometimes these chats about horse training are just as valuable if not more so than the lesson itself. It helps me validate my thoughts and processes and allows me to ask questions about our progress and training. It could possible be my favourite part!


  1. Sounds like a great lesson!

    1. It sure was, but I think I feel that way about all my lessons


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