Yes, I know – if
any solitary readers of this blog any of you live in a truly hot climate, our measly 35*C temperatures probably seem like child’s play to you. Meanwhile, we are wilting up here in Ottawa and struggling to move at anything faster than a shuffle. I capitulated to the heat and adopted a fashionable riding outfit of tank top and sunglasses:
Today saw a bit of rain and slightly lower temperatures, so I planned an actual workout for Schmoodle. After last lesson, I wanted to work on rebalancing the canter on landing from a jump, as well as continuing to insist on a consistently sharp response to my inside leg. Luckily I had this diagram of four-jump exercises in the annals of my computer (provenance unknown):
The second exercise, switchbacks, is for balance and bending – sounds good to me! (Unlike Bending Bounces Massacre, which sounds terrible.) I set it up with cavalletti as the centre elements and poles as the outside (because, once again, my motivation only extended to moving two heavy cavalletti.)
This deceptively simple exercise totally kicked our butts! It forced Schmoodle to be super respectful of the bending aids from both legs, to keep his engine going through the short turns, and to maintain shape in his topline and body despite wanting to stiffen and resist (given that my exercise was set next to the pile of scary jumps, there was significant resistance away from that direction.) After running through it a couple of times, I added halts after each element (as a “woohoo, I’m up here” kind of deal); next time, I added ten-metre circles instead of rolling back directly to the next element (including a solid correction with the whip which engendered a literal squeal of offense on Schmoodle’s part). Then, I suddenly had a super engaged, straight horse under me, who jumped the shit out of the cavalletti the final times through – really round and using himself correctly. Will definitely be using this exercise again.
(Our only misstep was when Schmoodle stopped dead in horror to stare at the German Shepherd that had wandered into the road from the barn across the street. He is forgiven, as I also thought it was a coyote at first glance.)
I shampooed his tail tonight with a shampoo that smelled like delicious coconut and gave me a visceral longing for pina coladas.
I’m out of town again this long weekend and am taking bets on whether Schmoodle will still have his fly mask on when I return. I suspect it will have been ripped from his face, destroyed, and partially buried in a far corner of the field – thanks, gelding friends.