Rio has been coming back very nicely from his month off. Other then sporting a lovely #hunterchunk and being way more out of shape then he should be, he’s being a total gem. I thank my lucky stars all the time that he has such a good brain. Amazing Vet has restricted him to flat work for awhile which is forcing us to take a hard look at his flat skillz.
As most hunter/jumper riders will probably agree- I do not love the flat work. I do not “hate” dressage or anything, I just appreciate how hard it is do right, and really think jumping is way more fun. I absolutely will do it to improve my horse, but my idea of fun is not concentrating on tedious flatting.
Unfortunately, I’m being forced to do it, and not even incorperating small jumps.
Thankfully, Trainer has given us plenty to work on. We had a lesson on Thursday where we really focused on Rio’s weak areas (which is everything. JK but only sorta). He just really struggles with how to carry his big body and where to put his legs. Totally normal baby stuff- but he’s a bit behind for his age and I can’t help but wishing he’d catch up already.
We focused on building strength and balance by placing 3 trot poles on a slight turn and doing about a medium sized circuit (probably 30-ish meters) where we would trot the poles, canter for 10 strides, then trot the poles again, ad nauseum. Have I mentioned the arena is not perfectly flat? It is amazing for building balance and strength, but is currently not doing us any favors. I mean it is, in the long run, but right now it just emphasizes our lack of balance and strength.
Rio also tends to “bow out” and lose any semblance of straightness and self-carriage. To help fix this Trainer has us counter-bending slightly and basically leg yielding into the circle for a step or 2, about every 10-15 steps. Rio dislikes this. I like this. It makes him feel incredibly light and balanced for a few strides before we lose it. He is trying very hard though, and we are certainly learning a lot. For example, I am learning that what I felt like is an acceptable amount of leg is not. #storyofmylife
Since he was schooled pretty hard on the flatwork for the past 3 days, I was more then happy to give him a little break today. He still needed a good work-out, but I wanted to do something slightly less taxing on the brain. When my fellow barn mate said she was taking her boy in the back pasture to hack, it seemed serendipitous that I should go too.
Note- I have yet to ride Rio in such a large, open space. Trainer suggested we go the other day, and I sheepishly declined. I still have the weeny AA virus and occasionally wuss out.
But, it felt right today. It was hotter then heck (85, no joke) and this was day 4 of Rio boot camp- I figured he’d be exhausted. Wrong. He was not exhausted, but he was a sweet boy and only bucked once and aged in reverse about 6 months training-wise, but that’s ok. Important part was that we tried something new and no one died. He basically forgot what a canter depart is, but he was at least game to try!
Here’s a few short videos! Huge thanks to my amazing videographer- Berto!!!