Practice Makes Perfect!

We had a more standard week this week, filled with lots of schooling, much to the horses disappointment I'm sure. Autumn is not the biggest fan of flat work, so I have tried to spice it up a bit with poles in various designs across the arena to make her think a bit more. It seemed to work as she was switched on and picking her feet up nicely, and even to my amazement worked in a slight outline – it was brief so there’s a lot more work needed but it lasted for a short time down two sides of the arena before she stuck her nose out like a cone again!

Don't you just love evenings like these?

Don't you just love evenings like these?

I was planning on an evening outing to do some jumping but sadly it was cancelled a couple of hours prior to starting, but we still made the most of the evening with a play in the arena working on her circles and figures of eight – she’s never been the most supple horse but she’s improving so fingers crossed we may even be ready in January to try our hand and hoof at Quest Dressage (I have never attempted a dressage test in my life so I'm a little petrified!! Argh!).

Aria has been practising some ground and lunge work as I have booked the physio to come out so I don’t want to overdo it with her prior to this. She is getting used to wearing brushing boots for schooling too, she hasn’t worn boots that often but I always think it’s good to try them with different things so if I do need to put them on in the future it’s not a shock to her. Luckily her SimplyMare supplement arrived last week and she was put straight on it – hopefully it will start having an effect as we have the physio this week!

Bob has been doing well at his schooling and loved the pole work, getting a little bit excited one day deciding to jump three of the poles in one stride (he should be good at a water fence then!). However at the weekend we did encounter his wimpy side again, for what reason I have no idea, I was walking him round in hand on a circle so he could see the arena, just before getting aboard as I always do. Then all of a sudden in one corner he lost the plot – pulling back, squealing and kicking out. I thought it was just a brief spook so calmed him and then tried the corner again – nope still not having it. I decided for both our safety to not get aboard but instead fetch the lunge line and try some lunge work.

We started in the other end of the arena on a very small ‘comfort’ circle, which I gradually made bigger by making tiny steps outward. He calmed enough to go 2/3rds of the way across the arena without a freak out and also did some lovely trot work. I also put a few poles out as a distraction technique near the middle of the arena so he had to focus and not flee, and luckily it worked!

Still no idea what spooked him – I even went to the other side of the hedge but there was nothing there, big old wimp. He turned it around though, so I was pleased at this progress even though it wasn’t the ridden session I had planned, but sometimes you just have to do what suits your horse's mood at the time.

To me progress is little steps that over time show how far you have come – when I started out riding in my teenage years, it was all about the end goal not the journey, but now I understand the lessons you learn along the way and how valuable they are for you and your horse's future. I even had a diary noting each lesson Bob and I had so I could look back at our progress and also refer to if I encountered similar problems to see how I overcame them. This is a treasured record that has helped me to no end.



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No ear Bob, something tells me he's not impressed with flat work today!

No ear Bob, something tells me he's not impressed with flat work today!

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