Tuesday, April 21, 2009

By Jove we might have it!

Today we made not one but two perfect circles. Well, not Euclidean-perfect, but definitely Platonically perfect. We also racked once and trotted twice, which somewhat reassures me that I'm not destroying her gait.

I really think Dixie's walk has changed a little, for the better. She used to have the LONGEST stride you could imagine, but it took your seatbones on a transcontinental journey with every stride. Lately, when we get in the groove, she still covers as much ground but it doesn't feel like I'm swinging back and forth as much - like my seatbones are going up a bit more, and backwards/forwards a bit less. Is that the beginnings of collection?

I tried setting up four cones down the centerline today, but that was too hard for us. I need a lot of time to adjust my aids, and she needs a lot of time to decide to follow my aids, and we couldn't comfortably make turns that tight. So I picked up half the cones and just left one at either end - we did figure eights and turns around each cone.

Towards the end, I asked her to speed up one more time for me, and she broke into a lovely trot. We halted at the far wall, turned around, and had started walking back when an army of demons began pounding on the roof with their knives. Or possibly it started raining on the tin roof, but from Dixie's reaction you'd think it was the former. She started to bolt but decided to just trot very fast back to the arena gate. I was proud of both of us - her, for trotting and stopping, and me, for not snatching the reins or getting unbalanced. I got off and led her outside, where she spooked at the rain and danced around like a fool for a couple minutes. Eventually she realized that the scary noise wasn't going to hurt her, so we went back inside, I got back on for one more lap at a walk, and we were done.

We'd both done our best, and we'd made real concrete progress on our own. Yay us!

My quads feel like I have been stabbed. No fuckin cardio today, no way. Lifting weights every other day is obviously a big enough challenge for me, and I don't want to risk being SO sore I can't ride. Maybe next week when I start to get in the swing of this I'll add cardio.

DiJ, Andrea, make a fitness blog and name it "Catchy Title Goes Here" for all I care! ;)


  1. Hey Funder- take a close look at the balance in Dixie's hooves too. Often times, a horse who is naturally gaited (well) like she is, will have trouble with consistent gait when the hoof balance is off a bit, OR the toe is off a bit. Maybe a bit of a rocker on her toe would help? (Feel free to email me direct for a chat too if need be! Both Dear Husband and I Loooooove gaited horses)

    From the *sounds* of things, you are doing well in the saddle, which makes me think look from the ground up first. And just think- with all the weight lifting, you will feel better/ stronger/ and more confident trimming her too! ;)

  2. No we really DO need to make that blog because I know I've been slacking for sure! Let's call it... "Fitness Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time/Fitness-A-Gogo/Fitness In Jeans" XD XD

  3. 'Fitness A-go-go seemed like a really good idea at the time in jeans.'


  4. Oh my...laughing too hard to comment the I was going to..will come on back...Fitness, seemed good in jeans, at the time!

  5. Huzzah for both you and Dixie overcoming the evil demons on the roof. :D

    I wonder if some of Dixie's gait shifting could be due to her maturing body? Just a guess here, but Peanut spontaneously stopped trotting under saddle when he hit 5. At that point there was no real gait training put into him, I just took what I got and it transformed on its own.

  6. Fitness seemed like a good idea at the time. But I hope that won't become our epitaph. We need to encourage one-another. If your muscles are sore, you must be doing them some good!

    Mind you, my head hurt after work today, so it must be good for my brain?

    But you will get fit and you will feel better then, riding will be easier, and your horse will thank you. That's something to work for. (For me too.)

    Thanks for standing up for me on you-know-where. I do appreciate it. Even if rational arguments are a bit over the top for people with that little intellect.

  7. I've never rode a gaited horse but would like to try it. Sounds like you had fun time with Dixie.

  8. Hi guys! I haven't forgotten about you, I promise.

    Sara - it's really reassuring to hear that Peanut is still a mystery to you!

    Julian - that's exactly why I'm working out, so my horse will have an easier time carting me around. I started off riding like the proverbial sack of potatoes, and now I am a slightly more balanced sack of potatoes, and one day I want to be the top half of a centaur. :)

    GHM - If you ever get the chance, definitely try it! I've ridden every type of gaited horse I've had the chance to, even a padded TWH. I knew I did not like the ethical/biomechanical aspect of padded horses, but now I know for sure that I don't even like the way the gait feels. Racking is FUN, foxtrotting is neat, pacing is weird.


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