Thursday, January 26, 2012

whoop whoop

Or not!

Chapiro had a couple of days off (well he had worked 8 days straight and I had a lot on) but yesterday we were back in the school and then walked down the hill to the bottom field. On the way back up we trotted on a long rein where we have cantered but he stayed balanced in body and brain, no rushing or anticipation. We continued up the lane past the house and he seemed quietly confident, didn't go far on my own but he behaved well. The only niggly bit being his trot transitions in the school which remained a little 'sticky'.

So today, in the rain (is this really me, riding in the rain?) we worked on keeping a really relaxed neck through the transitions and keeping his head a little lower than usual and it made a big difference. We ended up riding relaxed transitions on long, long reins but with his back working, it felt good.

So is my boy finally relaxing? I hate to speak too soon but this last week his confidence has emerged and I can count the spooks on one hand rather than on all fingers and toes! He is walking boldly down to the school and even me whacking by boot on the fence today didn't induce even the merest spook.

I'm thinking that when Steinbrecht said ''ride your horse forward and straight of shoulders'' he was very wise and that maybe when l'Hotte said the horse should be ''calm, forward and straight' it could have read ''forward and straight (by virtue of the shoulders) will bring on calm''! This certainly seems to be true of Chapiro, the straightening work is bringing along the gift of calm...or let's hope so.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chapiro's week

It's been all work for the young man this week and he's been a good boy, taking it all in his stride so to speak. The flexion work is continuing to reap rewards and it's following through to the ridden work. We've clicker trained the transitions a bit and we now have a trot that flows, just need to build some stamina. The lateral work is coming on and we even started a little travers. We hacked down the track and trotted back up the hill a couple of times after schooling and all of a sudden stamina wasn't an issue, lol.
The canter is improving on the lunge and we've ridden a few transitions in the school but maintaining the canter in the school is going to require more stamina training (spot the trend here).
Tonight we lunged over some small jumps which he really loves, he maintains a nice balance in the approach and makes a decent enough shape over them so it bodes well for him and Lydia in the future.

Lydia and Cacahuète have been enjoying their jumping and he also seems to be loving it

Sunday, January 15, 2012

onwards and upwards

Chapiro has ended his light duties for sure and has been ridden the last three days, I think he actually likes to be back into 'proper' work. I've just been riding for about 20 minutes after and in-hand or lunge session as he won't be too strong yet, we'll build up over the next few weeks.

I've ridden either in the bareback pad or the treed saddle as I do need to get Lydia on board more now and the Barefoot is too big for her. It feels strangely unsupportive after the treeless but he seems very happy in it.

Yesterday he was very sparky on the lunge and spooking everywhere but when I get on he seemed much calmer (thank goodness :o ). We worked on sideways and keeping the neck relaxed and then some trot work which already seems more energetic than it did a couple of days ago.

This is our work towards giravolta, I need to work lots on me but he's a star and very obliging.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I am heartened to say there is much talk on Enlightened Equitation of a plan to run baroque style online dressage tests. The idea of tests where lightness and artistry will be blended with correct gymnastic work quite excites me. I'm still saddened to read of folks 'holding' their horse together, driving aids and other things that are a complete anathema to me but perhaps if more of the good stuff is out there it will inspire others. I know I shall be working on my moves once this damned weather clears! No rain for months and then the annual rainfall in one month, or so it seems.
Today the boys came in and were happily munching on hay to the sound of rain hammering on the roof. They all had a brush and massage and Chapsi did some work on the yard; asking him to be more aware of my space, I didn't use 'click and treat' but 'good and scratch' (for those who fear treat giving it's a viable alternative), we had a few magic moments. Tomorrow the sun will shine!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

phew, that's done then

Regular followers will already know that I'm not a truly festive person and thankfully as I sit here on January 1st it's all but over. It's been a lovely quiet time for us as a family and I've enjoyed it more than I probably care to admit! We've cooked together, eaten and drunk too much together and enjoyed some nice time with friends along the way but I'll be happy to get back into my regular routine tomorrow.

Christmas being dry and sunny we managed to film some interdressage entries and some hacking and playing over logs in the woods. Helen and her family came over and of course Lydia and Ali overdosed on pony fun whilst Cacahuète got double the attention but worked pretty hard to deserve it. After lunch Helen had a play on Moo, she was impressed with him and how light he was, quite a compliment as Helen is a stickler for manners!

Cacahuète sneaks a mouthful
 Tyres in the woods
 Ali and Cacahuète with his warpaint
 My fave small person!
 Too busy to catch action shots but Ali made a lovely go of the tyres, take my word for it

Yesterday was wet and dreary but we made the effort to tack up a damp Moo and Cacahuète. Lydia had a nice canter alongside Moo's slow trot which is getting more and more contained and inspite of the drizzle we enjoyed our hack, certainly blew the cobwebs away.