I’m writing this after my latest visit to the dentist… I’m struggling to eat and talk (two of my favourite pastimes!) so I thought I’d give you all an update as training has been going pretty well this past week – touch wood it continues!
I had all my feedback for October’s E-Dressage, so I gave myself a big kick up the bum to get Dan back up to scratch. I wrote in my blog last week about his hindleg stiffness and lack of suppleness, and I’m over the moon to say that I think the Joint Aid is working! I noticed a difference after just a week, he seems back to normal picking out his feet (still difficult, but much more doable) and best of all, he’s really forwards and springy when I ride. I’ve also adapted my warm up routine by introducing some lateral work again, which I do in the walk after he’s had a stretch and done a bit of flexing. I had been avoiding as much lateral work earlier in the year so I could just concentrate on my position and getting Dan forwards.
I’ve had a few great tips on how to improve our canterwork too – we’ve been working on counter canter with inside flexion. We can do outside flexion in true canter, but this was a difficult one to get our heads around to start with! For left canter this exercise was easy peasy for Dan as he was balanced and already has a better canter that way, although this definitely made him feel softer and more uphill. We found it much more difficult in right canter, which has really made me realise just how much less supple he is that way. However, after a few goes something clicked and now we can canter around the whole arena (including the corners) without him trying to break into trot or changing at the back. Next I think I am going to introduce counter canter on a circle (with inside flexion) and maybe some counter leg yield and loops… lots of plans! The counter canter exercise has improved our canter massively in just a week, so it’s a tool I’m going to keep using in sessions going forward, particularly if he starts feeling flat again.
So despite the fact it’s now getting into winter, and it’s cold, wet and windy outside, I can’t wait to ride every night as my head is buzzing with new ideas and things to try. Dan feels tonnes better (Suzie even said ‘good canter!’ the other night, and she’s seen how flat it has been getting) and I don’t think there can be any better motivation than your horse giving his all for you.
Oh, and just a small thing to add – I won yet another competition – this time for Tottie! I already have their Maven jacket which I love, and lucky for me they sent me a matching saddlecloth 🙂 taking some photos has been good – I seem to lean back a bit now (after years of tipping forwards, typical!!) and my reins seem a bit long, so I’m working on both of these alongside everything else.
Til next week!
Nic & Dan x