Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In the Arena #56 - It's not just for hunter / jumpers...

I may have blown Val's mind this afternoon. I came down to the barn way early for dinner feeding, but much later than our usual midday rides... groomed him, dragged the ring at hyper-speed and then left. He had such a concerned / confused look on his face as I drove away. Don't worry Val - I did not forget your chow - I swear!!

It's so nice that there is light late enough for evening rides now. I met a friend for a quick power walk in the campground, then zoomed back to the barn. (much to Val's relief) What can I say, my guy digs his eats :) We tacked up and had a lovely pre-supper ride.

Focus was on contact, timing of my aids and two point trot work. And I experimented with my stirrup length, as in I shortened them one hole. Kacy from All Horse Stuff and Carol from Dressage Training Journal have been discussing the benefits of riding in two point and stirrup length on Carol's blog. Thanks so much to both of them for the inspiration and training suggestions.

I recently had the opportunity to examine some of my trot work on video, revealing among other things an un-quiet lower leg and a not low enough heel. Immediate improvement today with the stirrup length change. I must confess that I had lowered my stirrups a notch, a month or so ago, because I was sure that all of the bareback work we've been doing had opened my hips and stretched my hamstrings enough. Guess I jumped the gun ;)

This evening I rode in two point for ten or fifteen minutes straight, then alternated long sides of the arena and then numbers of strides. My legs felt good, my balance felt good, and Val was very relaxed. I foresee more two point in our future, because I want to earn my longer stirrups!! An altogether enjoyable ride.


As a horse crazy eight year old, I channeled my frustrated horse desires into a reading habit. I lived five minutes away from our local library, and spent whole summers there, reading every last horse book in the collection, memorizing horse "facts" and gaining ammunition for my constant requests for riding lessons and my own horse.

Imagine my surprise when, while wandering around online, I should stumble upon an etsy store that sold primarily jewelry, as well as one vintage book,

which I read and re-read countless times as a child. It was my horse bible. What a blast from the past to see this book again. And what a random way to find it after all these years.

Here are some highlights:

The ubiquitous parts of the horse diagram...

A lovely synopsis of the goals of a riding instructor.. (wish my first riding instructor had read this!)

And then there's this?!


  1. So glad you tried the two point and felt an improvement. I'm having some problems with our boarding facility (Don't know if I'll post about it or not) and my riding time is suffering :( I can't wait to get to work on this exercise too.
    I know exactly what you mean about the books as a child - that was me too lol. Great excerpts.
    By the way, I didn't notice your leg moving in your video...

  2. So sorry to hear that you two (may) have boarding issues. I can't think of anything that would be more nerve wracking. I hope everything works out asap. :)

  3. Love the vintage book... though I have to say I always cringe when I see folks standing on the horse's back! That pony does not look very happy to me... :/

  4. i have a huge vintage horse book collection, but i don't think i have that one - looks good but i'm not sure about the standing in the saddle part :-\

    i love work in 2-point for lots of different reasons also, though i admit i always need more work in trot. glad you're finding it helpful :-)

  5. It's such a good feeling to feel an immediate improvement, isn't it? I shortened my own stirrups recently (western, of course :) because I kept leaning forward. I had hoped that shortening them and concentrating on bringing my legs forward would rock my pelvis back--it seemed to help a bit.

    Very neat vintage book, by the way!

  6. I can just picture the concerned look Val gave you. Haha.

    So glad there's finally a touch more daylight. Counting days til the time change.

    Two point does wonders for people's riding. I should do more of it. LOL.

    I stand on horses sometimes *shrug*

  7. I think two point is such a great exercise for lots of reasons but stability and balance are what I need it for. There is a lot of two point in my future this spring. Glad you got to practice it for a while.

    My daughter has lots of vintage horse books, but I don't remember seeing this one. I guess I agree with the others, I'd never stand on a horse unless I was a trick rider in a rodeo. Then again if I ever tried it I'm sure I'd be on my head in no time at all.


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