Cross country does the dressage pony some good

Magic enjoyed his day out on Saturday. Well mostly. He enjoyed standing at the lorry eating with his new best friend and he enjoyed the slices of bread I was feeding him. He even enjoyed the warm up fences and got on with his job perfectly. What he didn't enjoy was his new best friend leaving him or having to leave his new best friend. He was fine while he was moving and had work to do but as soon as he had time to think about being alone he got very very stressed. There was a long wait after warming up and even though there were plenty of other horses stood around quietly my little pony just couldn't think straight. His mind seemed totally blown. All he could do was walk backwards. In the end I got off and let him eat. He seemed to calm down after about 10 minutes but before that it was like he couldn't think straight. I think I need to get him out more. Once a year isn't enough. On the plus side he really enjoyed his round. He went clear and didn't look at anything. We did however manage to smash the optimum time of 2:05 and do it in 1:17... Oops.

I gave him Sunday off so he could chill in the field. On Monday I lunged with draw reins over his back to his bit. Usually he isn't overly keen on this but thought I'd give it another go. He went beautifully. Really lifting his back and stretching down and round. Very pleased with the boy.

Yesterday I schooled. Used the spurs again. He seemed really really sensitive to them and even gave a little kick when I used them as if to say "oi! I'm responsive enough thank you very much". After that I only have to use slight pressure from my calf, even when doing leg yield on both reins. We also had the best canter we've had yet. It wasn't totally round but it was steady and collected. Hopefully he'll continue to improve and I can work on getting him to round in canter too. Even the downwards transitions to trot were smooth and he didn't attempt to hollow. Even more pleased with the boy.


Ok so im a bit late on doing on update on the vogue saddle but I've been a bit busy with work and stuff. Plus clipping Magic's
Legs :D

Firstly I noticed its quite a heavy saddle but not too heavy. Just more so than my tiny Jessica saddle. Magic didn't seem to mind it being girthed up even though he pulls faces sometimes with his treed saddle. It sat very much on top of him but I've heard they can take a while to mould to different horses. I was having to try it with my normal stirrups as I don't own any webbers which meant the buckles were digging into my thighs but the seat was comfortable. I did find the twist too wide for my hips and because of this felt quite insecure in the saddle. I found I had to take my stirrups up several holes but I don't think it was because of the set back bars as I've ridden with these before and actually prefere it. I should probably try it again when I've bought some webbers but at the moment I don't have the spare money to buy any so it will have to wait.

Yesterday was an interesting day. we had perfect walk, trot, leg yield and rein back, all perfectly round and working from behind. However magic had forgotten how to canter and I'd forgotten how to ride. Abandoned the schooling session and went for a quick hack down the road. I've noticed magics stifle slipping again, I lost count of the amount of times it happened just walking down the road yesterday. I'll be getting a physio out to him when I can. I'm not too worried yet as it isn't happening in the school *touch wood*

Today I decided to try schooling again. I swapped my dressage whip for spurs today in case I'd forgotten how to ride again and therefor would have less to hold. Started the same as yesterday with lots of transitions which went well. He'd been in all day so started off a bit nosey but he settled pretty quickly. Tried to add in trot canter trot transitions but they were pretty terrible. Walk to canter actually went a bit better so did walk canter trot walk, this seemed to help him slow his canter down but what I found really helped was walk to canter and then taking a slightly forward, light seat. He was really steady and felt quite balanced so I'll be doing this and slowly sitting back into the saddle. He worked hard today so he can have a day off tomorrow.


Lately with increased work I've Magic's shoulders have been getting bigger. They tend to push his saddle about a bit and although it doesn't seem to bother him it's something he's put up with pretty much all of his ridden life. GP and jumping saddles have always been pushed about, his dressage saddle was fine to start with but he's bulked up and now that gets in the way too.

After lots of thinking I decided to have a little look to see what saddles were available for big shoulders. I very luckily came across a Heather Moffett Vogue dressage saddle for sale at a very very good price and snapped it up quickly. It arrived this afternoon and hopefully I'll be trying it out tomorrow and will do a post on it then.

I'm quite excited about it!


Transitions, transitions, transitions!

They really do work!

Started magic off with a stretchy but round walk followed by trot where I picked him up a bit (he still finds it very hard to stretch in trot but we're working on it) , threw in a few leg yields on each rein and even managed one across the entire width of the school without loosing his back end. Followed this with a couple of rein backs which are coming on nicely then started to walk trot walk transitions. This livened him up nicely so started doing halt trot halt transitions with the odd rein back to trot. He was lovely to ride, a little strong and heavy in the downwards transitions but this improved the more we did.

Did a few circles in canter on each rein after and he was much better than yesterday. Seemed to be sat back more and he was a lot slower than yesterday. He was also more 'up' in front.

Now I just need to work on getting trot to canter and canter to trot transitions sharper so I can add those in to really get him working properly.


An interesting couple of days

Yesterday magic was an angel to school. He worked well in all 3 paces but what really impressed me was his attempt at baby shoulder in. It's the first time i've ever asked for it and he really tried for me. Rein back while staying round is improving too.

Today was a slightly different story. He stretched in walk and trot nicely to start off with then did some nice 'proper' trot work. Canter transitions on the other hand were useless. He reverted back to running into canter and rushing. The first canter was actually quite nice even after a horrible transition but after that he just wanted to bomb about. I could get him to round with a stronger contact but he was more interested in tanking off with me. The situation wasn't helped by the ex racer in the field having a strop because he was turned out along but it shouldn't have mattered, he's old enough to concentrate on his work rather than what's going on around him. I tried getting him to canter over a single pole in the middle of the school but this just made him stronger and faster with an added extended stride over the pole. I think once we have both learned to contain his canter it should be something quite special. There is a lot of power there.

Finished on a good note with some very nice trot leg yields away from the track to the centre line. He seems to find it easier to step under himself than in walk. .

Transitions, transitions and more transitions next session I think.