Due to my last couple of rides getting me down in the dumps (LINK), I decided to try a change of pace this afternoon & set up some pole work for the three of us; which it turns out wasn't a bad idea at all if I may be so bold as to say so. My issues are far from resolved, but having something else to work on while riding gave me a much needed confidence boost to keep plugging away and trying to fix my issues - a battery recharge if you will.
|Poles Picture taken from N's back after we'd finished.|
Figured it'd be better than my poor Paint attempts.
I started with Kika, she was good if distracted to warm up - I took my time in walk before moving up to trot work when she proved she wasn't going to settle any further in walk & in fact was only going to start looking for ways to entertain herself if I didn't change the question...Message received my dear - and work she did. Silly sod, can't just take life easy when it's being offered to her! We warmed up with w/t/c before starting in on the poles. Doing each set in both directions before linking some of the sets together with changes of rein in between. We finished with some lovely canter departs immediately after the poles staying nice soft & balanced for a circle and one long side of the arena before coming back to trot changing direction over more poles and repeating the exercise in the other direction off the other rein. I was super happy with her, we haven't come close to resolving my crooked or poor riding issues, but changing the scenery was just what we needed to re-find our feng shui & get back on the same (misguided) page.
Nancy was also a very good girl, having the poles to concentrate on and change our focus really helped both of us today. Typically myself & Nancy get on great until the first piece of canter work after which everything tends to go down hill...I know the snowballing badness is my fault as I must be tense or closing my hands on the reins and stressing her or something to make things go so wretchedly after what is usually nice canter work in itself. It is the trot work afterward that gets stressy & her head comes up as she starts fighting with me - I am trying to work on softening my hold on the reins but struggle with it as I don't want her to careen off with me...practice / practice / practice and we'll get there I hope. Fingers-crossed I don't ruin he ruin the mean time! *blush*
Anyway, sorry got off track there!
The poles really helped me with Nancy as it gave us both something else to concentrate on and helped me re-focus, relax and release my death-grip on the reins. The split second "break" in concentration needed to line N up with the poles allowed my brain kick into gear and remember to not do the things I wasn't supposed to be doing...Sorry, that probably doesn't make sense at all - but it deff helped! We even got more lovely relaxed canter work followed by stress-free trotting combined with the pole work. Perhaps I should include some sort of pole pattern in all my rides on Nancy until I can get my brain & body conditioned into riding her properly & not stressing the little things - thereby making me tense & having a knock-on effect on her and snowballing our bad ride experiences...just something to think about.