Well, it’s getting to be winter time. If you are an eventer, there’s not much happening. No events. Time for scaling back, taking the time to fix all the stuff that built up over the summer. Flat work time!
Personally I like flat work and I like riding a responsive and trained horse – who doesn’t? But the dressage doesn’t get installed by a simple download….it takes time, every ride, to work. Recently I took a hard introspective check of how my horses were riding.
Here’s what I found: I need them hotter to the leg. My horses get dead to the leg because I let them damp down their response; this winter, I am not accepting that. Riding all with whip and expected a better response to the leg. I am riding them as though they are not wearing nosebands and I don’t want their mouth to open when I half-halt. This is a good thing and makes me centered and soft in my hand. I am riding a few more minutes without stirrups on all horses and trying more sitting trot for longer periods of time.
While I focus the winter on foxhunting I also do flatwork whenever I can and jump when the footing is best for it, so while it’s fun to concentrate on the dressage, I also do a lot of that in the hot summer when the footing is hard and we can’t gallop or hack or jump, too.
We have some changes coming in the barn and I’ll outline those later over the weekend!