Daisy's Diary and Training Tips
Hi Daisychainers, Have you missed me?
Frankly I am having a lovely time, I have not had to do any real work for a few months. It has been winter of course which does not help with its short days and long nights, but Francesca has not had time to ride because of her new job. When she does have time she rides ‘Gormless’ who is going eventing soon. Suits me, I always felt I should be a lady of leisure.
I don’t want to be wearing out my Jimmy HorseChoos, do I?
It does not become a self-confessed beautiful lady like myself to become hot and sweaty, not good for the complexion although I do like to continue with my exercises to keep my beautiful body in shape.
So here is one to get you supple and swinging those hips.
If you have access to an arena, great, if not use an area of a field the same size (40 * 20 metres approx.)
Always start with at least 10 minutes of walking to warm your muscles up gradually, if your rider starts getting at it straight away, you might want to throw in a ‘playful’ buck or two, that way you rider will think you are a ‘bit fresh’ if you do that and they will come back to walk on a long rein.
Result, that is just what we wanted or maybe a 10 minute walk down the road before you start would be better. Do not slop around the training area though, like a sulking teenager, even on a long rein walk should be at marching pace, not window-shopping pace.
OK once you are warmed up, get yourself into a nice active trot, up to the bridle and encourage your rider to take a firm but not uncomfortable hold on the reins, so that you can talk to each other through them.
Not that they always listen or understand!
When you are ready, carry out three serpentines .
That means, starting at one end and riding straight across the arena to the other side and then do a half circle to ride back across. You should be able to do three of those comfortably in a 40 metre long arena.
Don’t cheat and let your shoulder fall in on the bendy bits, bend around your rider’s leg, you know you have to show them what to do!
They are rarely as good as they think they are and it is our job to remind/teach them with our little quirks.
Alternatively, if they are not applying enough leg pressure to tell you to bend, fall in on your shoulder and see if they notice. Most of them don’t have a clue until you show them, Another giveaway is when they start leaning in like they are riding a motorbike.
Once you have done the serpentines a few times properly on each rein, use some variations to stop from getting bored.
Instead of just turning and going straight across and back again, go across then do a 10 metre circle first, then go across and do the same on the other side, work your way down the arena.
Next change the rein and repeat all this.
However, if like most horses including me, you find it easier one way more than the other, make sure you do more work on your ‘stiff’ side to make both sides equally bendy. Maybe half as many again initially until after a few weeks you will be able to bend equally both ways which will make everything more comfortable and easier to do.
Having said that, make sure that your rider knows that you can be stiffer on one rein(side) in trot and usually the opposite one in canter.
Just the same as humans who are sometimes left handed and sometimes right handed.
You can use the ‘mini’ buck complaint to do this just sort of twist your bottom with a little bit of pretending to leave the ground, they soon get the message.
Finally, as an alternative to relieve any boredom, using letter positions M and K on the left rein and H and F on the right rein, ride a 5 metre half circle and then ride back to the track you have just left, forming a ‘teardrop shape’.
Do these exercises a couple of times a week for a few weeks and you will be amazed at the difference it can make to you and your rider’s suppleness.
More help soon. Bye for now