|January 29, 2014
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
It’s that time!!!!! My favorite time…..where I look at goals, progress and redefine where we are going :).
First off, I want to recap the lessons learned!
Tig has taught me that….I’m braver than I think. I cannot reiterate enough that I’m NOT a particular brave or courageous rider. But yet, like Farley did before her – Tig is REALLY good at telling me when she’s ready to take the next step. I don’t know if I’ve gotten better at listening, or if the TKR mares are just really good at talking….but I can’t believe how much stuff I’ve done with Tig over the last 7 rides that if you told me 2 weeks ago (or even 1 week ago…) I would be doing, I would have laughed in your face. (The very successful night ride tonight comes to mind…..)
Sometimes having a deadline and a quota is a good thing. I tend to take it very slow when it comes to my horses. Weeks of ground work, driving, with just short occasional rides in the beginning – not necessarily because they need it but because I feel like *I* need it to get to know the new horse! After all – I’m starting a relationship that is going to last years and we have all the time in the world. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing! But…..now I’m riding someone else’s horse with the quota of 3x a week riding and a deadline of 3 months to deliver a horse I can be proud of. Not only have I found myself rising to the challenge of moving along more quickly, I’m actually enjoying it.
I have clarified my overall goals for Tig. This last week I’ve managed to pin down exactly what I want at the end of these 3 months.
1. I want Tig to have a strong and appropriate fitness base going into race training this summer that minimizes her risk of injury. As I discussed last week, this means that she’s going a little faster and further right now than I would normally ask of a that was looking at strictly endurance as a first career. But for the effort that will be asked of her later this year, it will be appropriate.
2. I want Tig to have a really good shot at a second career in something she enjoys if she doesn’t make it on the race track. 39 rides and 3 months is not much time! But while we are building fitness, I am focusing on giving her as much breadth as possible in terms of new experiences. I’m striving to make every ride we do is a little different. Maybe we do the loop in an opposite direction, or we do it in the dark, or we turn around in a different spot, or we make an extra lap, or we go down new trail, or we do it at a trot……or we do it in a different bit, or I add different saddle backs, or I add a breast collar. You get the idea. Tig seems to THRIVE under this new philosophy – while she seems to enjoy some routine in her management schedule (like having her feet picked prior to tacking, a brushing down after a ride, a post haltering carrot, a post ride bucket etc.) she seems to REALLY enjoy having variety in her work.
I have defined her upper level of fitness, so have a starting baseline. Tig couldn’t have comfortably done a longer or faster ride than the 2.5 hour, 9 mile trail ride we did last Saturday. Looking at pace chart approximately 70% walk (or stopped), 30% trot (mostly slow, short trots throughout with some longer sustained trotting, of up to a couple of minutes). Canter did not contribute much to overall time/pace.
Without further adieu, let’s move onto the plan and revisions.
My progress comments are in pink/purple. I’ve crossed out stuff that no longer applies, and added revisions in red. You will continue to see this plan change as we move forward – but revising the plan is an important part of the process so I’ve included it in the post.
Month 1 (mid January-mid February) goals
– Have a walk, trot, canter under saddle and train any gaping training holes in order to be ready to start physically conditioning at the beginning of month 2. – On track. Gaping training holes identified: canter under saddle, hatred of arena, still occasionally bumps into my space, periods of balkiness that result in not loading/not moving forward over “obstacles” etc.
– Focus on relaxation, calmness, and “neutral” bridle work (light contact, encourage reaching down). Coming along very nicely, on track.
Week 1: low key, low stress. What do you know? Lunging, lead line, arena, trail. Let’s get to know each other. Complete
Week 2: pushing the limits. Not teaching new behaviors or skills, but push what we have so far and see what happens. We did a trail ride at a walk. Now let’s do some walk/trot trail stuff. We’ve been trotting in the arena, what if I ask for a bigger trot? Let’s tackle some trails that are a little more technical. Completed everything here PLUS MORE. We cantered under saddle, a couple of days before the plan. But the timing and feel was right so we went for it!
Week 3 and 4: teach new things and work on known problem areas. Canter under saddle! Trim her feet (she’s very defensive about her hinds). Continue to build up trail work until Tig can do 30 min at mostly working trot. Three gaits in the arena or continue to ask for all canters on trail if she continues to be better on the trail.
Month 2 (mid-Feburary to mid-March) goals
– Work up to 60-90 min walk/trot. Near end of month 2 introduce a small bit of cantering on trail add a little bit of cantering as regular occurrence on rides (arena or trail, ie as for a few transitions). Walk/trot/canter dressage work focusing on straightness, being through, and being solidly on the bit, whether this work is done on the trail or in the arena.
Month 3 (mid-March to mid-April) goals
– Work up to 120 min walk/trot. On shorter rides, increase amount of cantering (but keep the overall amount small. Cantering will mostly be in the arena during dressage schooling). Correct and balanced transitions. Continue to Lateral work. Work in arena enough that she knows expectations and behaves herself.