Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In the Arena #51 - Getting in a groove

A gorgeous day for riding. Once again the weather forecast is for things to go downhill - snow / sleet / freezing rain later in the week - so I headed up to the barn as soon as possible after work. Looks like there will be time for some tack cleaning coming up.

Confession. A big hole in my equine knowledge is wrapping. Considering our tricky footing these days, it seemed a good idea to pull out the polo wraps and give Val some extra support. My trainer had shown me the basics ages ago, inside to outside - front to back, but I seriously need practice. After today I'm thinking - why would they package the wraps (new) rolled inside out? Is this a stupid question? Shouldn't the velcro sections be in the middle of the roll when you start? Was I supposed to re-roll the wraps before wrapping? This is the kind of task that can send me over the edge, due to the conflict between my perfectionist side and my adhd side. Anyhow, I got him wrapped after a fashion. He had way more patience about the ordeal than I did. (Any tips about wrapping would be welcome!)

We focused on forward today. I recently got a lot of good comments about forward making straight easier. (which my trainer often reminds me) I'm still getting the gumption to trot bareback, so forward needs to happen under saddle for now.

As soon as I had Val's attention, which didn't take long at all, we moved right into our trot work. I practiced adjusting our tempo, both with my posting, and counting out the rhythm I wanted. Also keeping the tempo steady throughout the whole figure, which was sort of ovally today, as the whole back of the arena was flooded out. We achieved good energy quickly, and the transitions were responsive. Some especially nice halts off of my seat. And minimal use of the whip - Val was moving off of my leg almost exclusively.

Posture / position felt good today. I was conscious of how my legs influenced Val's haunches, and attempted to use the aid with more subtlety. As time goes on I realize how much I (formerly) used my reins for steering, and how much more effective my legs are as a steering aid. After an aborted attempt at on-board video, (which proved too big a challenge of my multi-tasking skills), we finished off with some good work on the buckle... round circles and turns on the forehand both ways... we even had a nice foamy mouth. Someone got plenty of cookies ;)


  1. It really is stupid the way they sell polo wraps with the velcro outside instead of inside. I suppose it makes a neater package for putting on the shelf but, sheesh, what a pain. The only advice I can give you is practice. I've noticed a big difference between brands as well. The thick ones are impossible. The elastic-y ones are easier to put on but you have to be careful about not getting them too tight.

  2. I used to spend the entire time wrapping a horse worried that I got it too tight. That is my big fear - like too tight knee socks on us. I always ended up with a loose puddle of leg wrap. The only wrap I could get right was the vet wrap that the vet I worked for would assign me to do. Something about an injury made me put it on tight enough. I hear your pain with the wrap.

    Sounds like you and Val had a great workout in the arena. And cookies for the good boy! Hooray!

  3. I rarely wrap anymore. It is a nuisance having to reroll those things when you open the package. I was taught to start in the middle of the leg, work down and then back up finishing at the top.

  4. Wraps are annoying. I used to use them every day(years ago) I never use them now. I remember there had to be a little V at the bottom of the wrap and I was told to pull the wrap straight back and then continue with each section. I'm sure somewhere there is a video of wrapping but I'm sure you're doing fine.

    Good bareback work again. It's so nice when things go well.Your pictures are adorable. He's such a cutie too.

  5. Get a pony clubber to come out and show you how. They start learning wrapping at the D3 level and pride themselves on how good they get by the time they reach the A level. Not only do they have to wrap, they have to learn to make their own 'pillow' wrap using (I think I remember this correctly) gamgee and gauze. Once our vet had a pony clubber riding with her on rounds and she deferred the wrapping to the pony clubber saying she did it better than the vet. :)

    That said, we do not wrap for anything but injury. The potential for doing more harm than good is there if you get it too tight, and too loose could be annoying at best or a disaster at worst if the wrap begins to untangle while you're riding and the horse gets tangled up.

    I have all the wrapping stuff because daughter has to do it for pony club ratings, but in six years I have only wrapped one leg here.

    And yes you have to re-do the wraps out of the package! That's the first thing the pony clubbers learn, is how to roll the bandages so they're ready to wrap in an emergency. They teach the same thing Kate mentioned - start in the middle of the leg, go down and then back up to finish up top. You're also supposed to start the bandage in a certain place and go in a certain direction (I can't remember these details!) which they say makes it harder to get the bandage too tight by accident.

    Stay warm - sounds like you will get more snow soon! We are supposedly getting a "dusting."

  6. I agree, the way they package polos is irritating.

    As for wrapping- I feel like that's tough thing for a lot of horse owners and riders. They're not something most people use daily, and it definitely takes some practice.

  7. Oh the Polo wrap dilemma!

    Since my mare feels worth my old trailer wraps...I now use standing wraps for helps you remember the right way to wrap do get better at it eventually.

    My sis used to wrap actual Polo Ponies and she's a wiz. She takes about 3 inches of end (leaves it loose above her hand on inside, top back of a leg-Roll in hand,facing forward)taunt pull towards back, since right on the front of the bone damages nothing. Then evenly down around, till you start back up, and that 3 in flap-now it is placed down the back side of the leg, over what you just wrapped as added protection for over- reaching-blows. In dressage, they only leave out a corner, at top though, for a secure wrap to not fall.

    The British Pony club manual shows you how in pictures.

    I'm just returning to the And after I lunge, I'm mounting the bareback pad (no saddle yet) and walking, lose rein in patterns, using my seat, weight, intentions to steer. It's my start for her to be relaxed-in the arena. I'll only pick up contact, these first times in there, if she ignores me.
    I'm nervous, actually dreamt the while ride last night...
    Wish me luck

  8. I could help you with your polo wrapping. There is nothing really special about it.(:

  9. I just got a link to this video through an email:

    It might be helpful to you even though it shows standing wraps.

  10. Everyone-

    Thanks so much for the wrapping suggestions. Glad to know it is stupid the way the wraps come packaged backwards :)


    Wishing you all the best for your arena ride. I'm sure you guys will do great, and I can't wait to hear about it!!

    Btw - you asked a while back if my thinline pad girth buckles rubbed. I noticed they might be hitting his "elbows" today, so I'll be getting a fleece cover as well. Thanks for the heads up Kacy!!


    Thanks for the link :)

  11. I hate how they package the wraps as well! Makes no sense at all....

    Some of the best advice I have received about wrapping is always pull the wrap tight at the front of the leg and just roll it across the back. Using that method I've never gotten it too tight (damaging a leg) or too lose (had one fall down under any circumstances).

    I could NEVER do a video while riding, either! Very cool to hear about your use of leg. I find it so interesting how much western pleasure uses dressage--I am also playing around with using more leg than anything else to get the response from Paula's body that I need--controlling her shoulders, collection, and hips at the trot.

  12. I am so glad you commented on my blog! I love finding new blog friends... wrapping, ahhh yes. Lots of articles out there, just make sure you don't have them so tight you cut off circulation! Here's a step by step guide for ya...

    1.Place the polo wrap at the middle of the leg. It makes no difference if you wrap from back to front or vice versa. Completely overlap your first turn around the leg to secure the wrap. Then work DOWN, overlapping about 1/3 the wrap width.

    2. Wrap down past the fetlock and around the pastern, letting the leg's natural contours guide the bandage back up. If it bunches or gaps at the bottom, it's likely you haven't followed the legs shape (or need more practice :)

    3.Cont. wrapping up the leg, using consistent pressure and overlapping each turn. At the top of the leg, secure the wrap with your velcro strip.

    4. Ideal wrap is smooth, with no bumps or gaps, and firm enough to stay in place. Make SURE a finger or two can fit into the top and bottom edge all the way around the leg.

    I got this from Equus, and now (i think in '07)I'm much better at wrapping, but boy, my first few times, geesh!
    good luck!

  13. Jessie-

    That's too funny - I was thinking about western riding while I was focusing on my leg aids. We were weaving through the cones and I was imagining Val and I barrel racing lol :)


    Thanks for stopping by, and for the wrapping directions! :)

  14. Gag. I had to wrap Laz's legs everyday (standing wraps) for months. Thankfully it's been almost a year since I've had to to that. BUT the one most important thing is to not pull/twist against the tendons. You'd be surprised how many people do it on accident/habit. I wrapped front to back, as advised by my vet but I'm not sure it really matters. Practice makes perfect. OR get boots like Pegasus to make it easier on you :)

  15. The reason it DOES matter where the pressure for the wrap is coming from is:
    you can do serious damamge if you pull foward, agtainst the softer tendon.
    The Taunt pressure should only be applied while wrapping against the front of the horses legs/on bone.
    So that happens as you round the front of the leg-towards the back.
    Once you get a goes really fast.


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