Horse Training

100 Days of Redemption: Days 51-60

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness.


Philippians 2:5-7


Day 51: We rode with Tatum and Elek across the street to the outdoor arena. Redemption was good: we got a lot of good flat-work in, but she was not always through the outside rein. Tatum and I attempted to take her over a couple of jumps, but her leads were inconsistent so we decided not to add anything else to her plate until her flat-work is more developed.

Day 52: Today we had another helpful lesson with Anne. After being reminded of how important the basics are yesterday, we focused on improving her dressage test by making Redemption more through (stepping from her hind end, up into my hands) and yielding to my outside rein. Things to work on from today – riding off of the rail to ensure she is not relying on it to be straight, being more stern with her and insisting that she remain on the bit instead of bobbing on and off, and maintaining tempo.

Day 53: Inspired from our lesson yesterday, Redemption and I worked outside just on straightness and staying in contact with my hands. She was more forward since we were outside – which I love, but she was still having difficulty with her right lead.

This is perplexing as before the show this was not an issue. We worked on leads for awhile; she was so good and didn’t get frustrated even though I was pushing her a lot. She is so special to me, keeping her head and learning – she even ended the ride picking up the correct lead multiple times.

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Day 54: Shorter ride this morning as I have given her a lot to think about. It was much colder this morning and I just worked on straightness in the walk. She was pretty good, I expect her balance to be much better after a couple of days for it to resonate.

Day 55: My sweet friend, Tatum, rode Redemption – or Demi as I have been calling her – today. She had a blast moving out and galloping around the polo field with Elek. Tatum was impressed with Redemption’s eagerness to move out and go where asked, and her unflappable demeanor. Tatum worked on Demi’s leads and had decent success after the initial warm-up.

Day 56: I got to practice all of my training tricks today working on Redemption’s leads. We rode across the street again with Tatum and Autumn in the outdoor arena – the whole ride was about 2 hours, an hour and a half of which spent working on that darn right lead… Redemption started blowing through her shoulder (falling out of balance the opposite way we are going) and this appeared to be the cause of the lead struggle. So to rectify her leads, I first worked on getting her through at the walk, then I did a variety of lateral exercises, basically attempting to flex her entire spine and stretch to ensure she was balanced and supple enough to do what I was asking. She was still struggling with it, so I found a place to end and called it a day. Today was humbling, and a reminder to always listen more than you speak.

Again I am impressed with this mare’s mind. Despite my frustration with the canter, Redemption gave me lots of really good movements and we came away calm and relaxed.

Day 57: Because of the struggle yesterday I’ve decided to give Redemption a few days rest, increased feed, and done some specific strength training using the lunge line and side reins. For the first time, I lunged Demi with an outside side rein because adding this piece of equipment gives stability in a way that can be difficult to replicate under saddle. It is a rigid aid that makes it significantly harder for Redemption to fall out, or blow through the shoulder as she has been. After adapting to the new aid, Redemption began to balance herself better, and I was thrilled that we got her right lead for a full 15 m circle.

Day 58: Today we focused on lunging again. I switched to a more elastic outside side rein and I am thrilled that there was much improvement from yesterday . As always, I am very pleased with this mare’s super attitude .

Day 59: After a few days of light exercise and straight rest, I rode Demi bareback. I practiced mimicking the elastic, constant outside rein, and had no problem with lead!

Day 60: Rode bareback in the indoor arena with Autumn and Elek – got the lead again! I think we’ve got it figured out 🙂

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