Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

At the Barn #58 - Measurements, smeasurements...

In the Arena # 116 - As the world turns...

Rundown on the electric project:

Dug a (200 ft x 8 ") trench. Had a trencher to dig the first three inches - the rest I had to hand shovel. Glued and laid conduit in trench.


 (So - at one point in the planning stages, I had given an estimate of the length of service wire (pricey) needed to get from power pole to studio. I said 200 ft should cover it. A piece of wire of undetermined length arrived.)

"Should we measure the mystery wire? I have a rolling measuring tool!"

"No - we don't want to unroll the wire. That would be stupid."

Ran fish wire through the conduit. Fish wire got bound up a little over half way through. Had to dig out and cut conduit. Had to unroll wire to push it through the conduit. Measured the unrolled wire. (168 ft) measured the length of conduit laid. (172 ft) Add in what runs up the boxes. (10 ft)

I made a few calls and found a scrap piece of service wire just a minute down the road. Had I been forced to drive 1 1/2 hours to the nearest Home Depot and back...

Upshot on the electric project:

I now have properly connected power to my studio, a couple of weatherproof outlets on the outside of the building, a breaker box and an outlet inside my studio. Running wire, fixtures, lighting on the barn and rewiring the tack room will happen at some point in the future.

It was an absolutely exhausting weekend. I learned a lot about rigging up electricity, and cooperation. While I sure don't want to make the connections at the poles and to the breaker boxes, the rest of the job wasn't too difficult. (And the dogs had a blast!!)


Val and I had a beautiful ride today. After reading smazourek's thoughtful post about neck reining and dressage, I headed out to the barn pondering turning, steering, reins - neck and not.

I have been taught "inside leg to outside rein." My best understanding is the inside leg gives the aid to turn (and leg yield), as well as something for the horse to bend around. The outside rein affects balance and carriage (half-halt), and stabilizes the neck. While you don't pull the head around with the inside rein - lead the horse by his nose - neither must you abdicate contact on the inside rein - it balances the outside rein contact - "Keep the neck straight!" and creates bend. 

"The rider must learn to guide (or 'steer', or 'turn') the horse mainly with the seat and legs, driving the horse in the required direction, and with the outside rein. Though both reins are an essential part in the "orchestra" of aiding whilst guiding, they play only a relatively small, passive laterally stabilizing, framing (channeling) role of the horse's neck and shoulders. Erik Herbermann

I have not worked much on bending with the inside rein, as I arrived to dressage with a healthy case of "inside rein-itis," which rears it's ugly head when I get flustered or stop concentrating, though I may be ready to experiment with bending now. So far it has been safer for me to do as little as possible with the reins, other than concentrate on contact.

Speaking of contact - I took much more of it than usual this afternoon, with very good results. Val did some nice reaching, and used his hind legs. We had decent forwardness off of light leg aids as well. Val's response to my leg is improving every ride. I hardly touched my whip. For the first time in months we did multiple whole circuits of the arena at the trot keeping the tempo steady and with fluidity. Val was super willing, and the ride was super fun. Love my horse!


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one complaining about the new blogger word verification. I get them wrong way more than right so thanks for not putting me through that frustration.

    I was taught I could turn my horse just by looking the direction I wanted to travel and it works really well. Of course I have to be responsible for where I look but it's definitely made things better for my horse.

  2. Digging that trench sounds like a bear of a job. Too bad you couldn't use the trencher for the whole thing to make it easier. At least it's done and you have the electricity you needed.

    Sounds like a good ride on Val. Glad you and he are having such good times.

  3. I am in admiration of all the things you know (and/or learn) how to do. That trench looks like a work of art to me!

    And so happy you have electricity in your studio, etc.

    The ride sounds good too. Life is good!! :)

  4. You dug that trench by hand?! I'm hurting just thinking about it!

    I'm glad my post made you think, it seems there's a lot of different ideas floating around about how best to use the reins. This little insight has already helped me quite a bit :)

  5. Holy crap, that trench looks like it was a challenge. You are amazing!

    Don't you just love rides like that?! Bet you smile every time you think of it. :-)

  6. That is a LOOONG way to dig a lot of unfriendly clay soil! (After living in my sandbox for two years, all brown dirt is "clay soil!")

    I, uh, cheated when I dug my electrical trench, and I ran a guide string BEFORE I glued the PVC together. Then I used the guide to pull the fish tape and the fish tape to pull the Romex - I'm sure it's not legit, but it was SO much easier! (Don't tell your friend what I did!!)

    Grats on a lovely ride with Val! He's such a happy horse; it really shows.


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