Week four of the challenge is quickly coming to a close. What an amazing month it has been. At a third of the way through Tucker & I are solidly halfway done. We have 21 hours and 15 rides.
The rides have been a nice mix of trails, one lesson and dedicated sessions at home .
Our time at home has been very focused and I’ve been proud of myself for having a plan prior to going out and riding. I know what I want to work on, I have the exercises in mind to use to help us get there and more importantly there is a picture in my mind of what it should look like by the end, that way, I know when to stop.
At the beginning of this 12 week period, I knew I wanted to work and strengthen a few things:
- LEADS: Tucker is pretty balanced. Which is great! On the flip side, if he picks the “wrong” lead, it is often hard for me to tell that he has without looking. This is not only about his balance but also about my inability to FEEL it. My focus has been on asking for, influencing and getting the lead I want, in addition to identifying the lead we are on.
- DRESSAGE: I wanted to solidify our leg yields, lateral movements and specifically start building our shoulder and haunches in. I’m playing with riding from the hind end, finding forward, getting him to track up in the gaits, and stepping under on our circles.
- FITNESS: Since the challenge ends right as prime riding season begins I figured it would be a great use of our time to build strength and stamina. We’ve been working the hills in our pastures, ground poles, transitions and staying longer and settling in at the trot and canter for nice long stretches of time.
This past week I have made note that I really need to pepper in some more relaxed and laid back time with Tucker. So much of the past month has been about DOING and I know I need to reset the balance. In our near future I see some nice long grooming sessions, hand grazing in the pastures that are “closed” for the Winter and just going out haltering him up and letting him go with no work or expectation tied to other end of coming to get him.