Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In the Arena # 89 - An attitude of gratitude

Val and I took advantage of some gorgeous weather yesterday to squeeze in a ride before the holiday mayhem sets in - the arena does have perfect footing at the moment. (!)

After a quick warm-up we moved right into trot work - with Val responding to nice light aids. I focused on balance in the corners, not leaning to the inside. Sitting straight and tall, even in my stirrups, and leading with the girls ;). Looking out through Val's ears - not down. Visualizing what I wanted to happen so that I almost didn't have to use my aids after a while. And soft following hands. Things were feeling pretty good, so I picked up quite a bit more contact than I have been lately, which Val loved. He responded by getting rounder and motoring forward using his cute little hind end. 

Most of all - I focused on INSIDE LEG TO OUTSIDE REIN. Thinking of getting that tattooed on my wrist - not even kidding... ;)

We had the most fluid, connected trot work I've ever experienced outside of working with my trainer. I have been trying to improve my posting by loosening up my ankles, and letting them take the weight rather than posting off of the balls of my feet. The quality of the trot also seems to improve when I can accomplish this. We ended our trot fest with what felt like a super square halt and reinback, and did some beautiful turns on the forehand - on the buckle and no stirrups. I'm glad I finally figured out that doing walk work later on makes our sessions much more productive.

Saving the best for last - (can't get enough of Val's cute little whiskery muzzle)...

Can you see it?! There was more before the cookies...

And when really Val enjoys our ride, he grooms me while I clean tack. Love you too buddy!

Yes - this was a hard shot to capture


Thanks to our kind readers out there in blogland. You never fail to share your inspiration, knowledge, support, humor and friendship with us. I am so lucky to have found you all, and I am very, very grateful.

I hope you all have a great holiday, and get to spend some time with your family and your horses. I'm off to the kitchen - Happy Thanksgiving!!


  1. Sounds really good, and love the pictures!

    Have a great Thanksgiving yourself!

  2. Your trot work sounds wonderful! I'm having a spell of good trot work too - maybe there's something in the air? :)
    I know what you mean about trying not to post off the balls of your feet, but it sounds like you're getting the right technique and that Val likes it.
    Those pictures are just adorable. What a sweetie he is.
    So impressed with your progress.

  3. Wow, sounds like you found the secret to a perfect trot with Val. Great work! Love his whiskery muzzle. He's so cute. Have a great Thanksgiving.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    Val is just the sweetest, isn't he?

    BTW- thank you. I think your 2nd paragraph gave me a little AHA moment.

  5. It sounds like you had a great ride -- and even remembered more than three things at once! (that's always a challenge for me).
    Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  6. Isn't it neat how more contact can lead to more motoring? Lovely description of your ride and lovely muzzle shots.

    Happy Turkey Day!

  7. Absolutely love the photo of your hand and Val's nose. I'd have that one blown up and framed!

  8. I agree with Fetlock ...frame that sweetest photo ever!!

    Oh Christian, I swear I could taste your description of that connected ride...and I was doing everything, by feel, with you.

    You know that YouTube video called " ultimate tease", with the dog hearing of all the food being prepared( he wanted badly) but never got. I feel like that right now, in a way. My riding keeps getting put off.

    But after reading of your lovely ride, with Val enjoying himself and the true balance you both had; I'm grateful too. I am inspired by you and will keep feeling exactly what what you are doing...till one day, I'll be riding out-your description on my own horse.

    All that said, I'm truly loving my bareback saddle experience. It takes me back to childhood...though I'm not on the bare horse( I wouldn't want to be !) I feel like I am.
    A gift these equine creatures are...they allow US TO JOIN THEM.

    Love and friendship to you,

  9. Sounds like a wonderful ride - and a great way to start this holiday weekend... hope yours is full of love and light!!


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