Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sweltering Success

I'm not sure what it is.

Perhaps the gruelling heat. The way the sweat beads up, wells and pools everywhere. On everything and everyone.

Maybe it has to do with the season? The bliss of summer time, long days, hot nights.

Could it be me? Sweltering, sweating, determined?

Could it be him? Going much the same?


I've spoken often lately of the "Dressage Disease". Something I maintain, I had little intention of catching when I started my pursuit of dressage. And yet, somehow, everytime I leave the barn lately, I feel like the fever is burning. Strong.


Despite temperatures reaching over 30 celcius, and humidity levels through the roof, I find myself strangely compelled to ride. A part of me believes this is because there's no air conditioning at home, so I'd rather be sweating on my pony then sweating on the couch.

More likely, it's that I've truly fallen in love with this sport. And for some reason, on these hottest of hot days, when the sun bakes you like a small clay oven, I find my horse to be...responsive.

I would think that he would be at his best on the cool autumn days we rode last year. But he wasn't. Perhaps the early springtime, when the temperatures were warming? He wasn't.

And here today, and yesterday, when the sun starts its decent and the temperatures finally start to back off, I find my MoonSox to come together.


Today's ride was awesome. It leaves me wondering what he would be like if I really could ride every day? Yesterday, stiff, stuck, jammed up pony. Today, he's coming around. Softening. Holding it. Smooth in his transitions. Big steps in his leg yield. Responsive.

We worked a good bit on canter too. The girls were nice enough to shout out whether I had my leads correct, which helped a lot. It's nice to have a grounds person who can help train your mind to what "right" feels like. I swear, one should not ask someone who doesn't know posting diagnols to know canter leads!

I remain impressed by his walk-canter transitions. I can REALLY feel him get his hind end under him to move into it, and it does feel like it has a certain level of control, not a crazy jump into canter.

I found myself working a good deal on trot-canter as well, and I have to say, he's not nearly as consistent in his leads when done through trot. Which means I'm somehow setting him up wrong through the trot. Hmmmm...

Needless, he was soooo much better today at softening post-canter, and I was able to really work with a variety of gaits in short succession, versus getting one canter circle in and then spending 20 minutes re-establishing soft.

I was soooo proud. Irrespective of leads, it means sooo much to me that we're actually SCHOOLING canter! We used to never even TOUCH canter, and now we actually include it in our schooling plan. It's incredible. Sad because we can't afford coaching at the moment, but at the same time, I feel like this is REALLY what we need. To take some time to focus on what we're doing and how we're doing it. Just PRACTICE without trying to add anything new in.

He seemed to really be understanding my cues and request for canter, which was sooo awesome! For a horse I never could get to canter before, I could set us up, ask and we'd go. Not necessarily perfect, but we'd go nether the less. Small victories folks, small victories!

After a good while of trotting and cantering, with tons of leg yielding and figure 8's (oh boy is his leg yield really coming along), I let him walk on a loose rein and then thought I'd try a bit of neck reining. Despite my Dressage Disease, I still have this weird temptation with the western world. I just can't help it.

So I worked on trotting him off on a loose rein, without him hollowing. Really trying to get that gliding western jog going on. And he really surprised me when he stepped off into the trot with his head and neck long, and gave me about 5 or 6 nice smooth jog steps! We worked on it a couple times, and I was thrilled. The steering is questionable (kinda there but he's not as correct as direct reining), but boy-oh-boy, I think he's really learning how to carry his back and give the rider a place to sit the trot.

I'm thrilled.

That should've been enough.

But of course, he called when the other horses left the area earlier, so I thought he could stand for a little off-the-property time. So we took the dog and galloped up the road through the ditch. 1/4 mile maybe. He loved it. That horse really loves to gallop. Like there's no tomorrow.

And then, since he was dripping sweat and breathing hard, I dismounted and walked him the 1/4 mile home. : )

Nice hose down to end the night (dog too...she lies in the puddles to stay cool!), and some treats and kisses. Boy, I LOVE this horse. Even when I spray him with the hose, scare the crap out of him and he just jumps to the end of his lead (which wasn't even tied up) and then stands there like a good boy! I seriously do not think I could survive a different horse. Moon is soo...reasonable. : )


: ) There's other news, like my $80 car repair, our bracing tense ride yesterday in the heat, this weekend's western show with the IRC and my car attempting suicide on me again. But nothing seems to matter or be worth mentioning when my boy is moving and behaving like he did today. I just love him.


  1. I am right there with you finally schooling canter - and it is a HUGE deal! I am finding too that my mare is working better in this incredible heat wave we are experiencing...strange, isn't it? Great job :)

  2. I found that what really helps for helping a horse get the correct canter lead from the trot is sitting a few strides before asking for it. That way you're not confusing him by asking from the wrong diagnol. Might be something to try. :)

  3. Awesome! Sounds like Moon is coming along well! I love when the light bulb goes off for my mare too, it makes me feel like I'm doing a good job! Sounds like you're doing a good job! :P

    I primarily ride western, but follow many blogs that are dressage focused and am prettyyy sure that I now fully have the disease. If you need any advice about showing western, let me know!

    Are you planning on showing one handed or two handed?

    I start teaching a horse to neck rein with two hands in a snaffle. If I want to turn left, I'll cue him forward, direct rein with my left rein, and lay my indirect rein (the right one) on his neck. I'll turn left a few times, turn right a few times, serpentine, just get him used to the idea of the rein touching his neck. I want to teach him that the rein touching his neck means "move away from this pressure". I like to add leg to support the turn and will gradually lessen my use of leg as my horse starts to understand my request to turn. I do it for a little while every time I ride and they learn pretty fast! :) Sorry for the unsolicited advice but maybe it helps?