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My journey with Abbey & other horsey bits 'n' bobs

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medium trot

Novice 34 Practice

It’s been a while since Abbey and I took to the school to practice a test, but with a competition in just 2 days I thought we’d better do some.

Lately we’ve been focused on building Abbey’s strength and suppleness, particularly in her trot work. Looking back at the video, I can see it is paying off. She’s much more uphill and there’s more cadence.

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Flatwork and travel update

Abbey and I are continuing to practice many of the movements that come up in Novice tests. Rather than describe in detail our schooling sessions, here’s a video.

Generally I am very happy with how we’re progressing. I think the medium trot is coming on, albeit very slowly. The canter-trot-canter transitions are definitely improving as are leg yields and shoulder-ins.

While the canter-trot-canter movements aren’t in the test we’re doing on Saturday, they are in a test we’re doing in a couple of weeks and it is good to mix up the exercises we do in our schooling sessions; it keeps Abbey enthusiastic about flatwork.

Next time we’re in the school (Friday or Saturday), I’m going to practice walk-canter and counter canter.  It’s not something we’ve done for a while and will help improve Abbey’s balance and engage her hind-end.

I was really pleased that we overcame the spooky corner (unlike in my windy lesson!) and managed to get some sensible work done in the bottom end of the school, even if it did take a little while to get there. As you can see, taking the time to go slowly round the corner, a moment of chill (with a free walk on a long rein), can be enough to calm and settle her.

In other news, I’ve started taking Abbey out in the horsebox daily. With the van floor secure (see here for how we replaced the floor) So far we’ve done two trips and she sweated significantly less on the second one.  Fingers crossed, this is the beginning of Abbey getting used to traveling again.

Windy lesson part 2 – the good: practicing a test in an odd sized arena

Practicing dressage in an odd sized arena isn’t ideal. Ours is 25m wide (not 20m) and 40m long (my test is in a long arena which is 60m).

Letters A and C don’t line up properly and M/H/F/K are very close to the corners.  B and E are roughly where they should be but remaining letters (S/V/P/R) are far too close together.

Day-to-day it doesn’t bother me, in fact I am normally grateful that our YO put in the biggest school they could. It means more of us can comfortably work in there at the same time, and there’s more room for showjumping courses.

However, when it comes to test-riding it can lead to brain pickle!

The first thing we do, is put out poles to bring in the width – 2.5m on each side. For a short arena test, I just ignore the ‘middle’ letters (V/S/P/R).

But if it’s a long test…..then it starts to get complicated….

Continue reading “Windy lesson part 2 – the good: practicing a test in an odd sized arena”

Progression: from then to now

I often film my schooling sessions with Abbey, mainly to see how we’re progressing, what I am doing right and wrong and if what I feel is what you see.

Here’s our latest session:

There are plenty of things I feel I could be doing better and am I looking forward to my lesson next week.  What struck me the most is how far we’ve come in three years.

This video was taken in winter 2014, when I first sat on Abbey:

Continue reading “Progression: from then to now”

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