Saturday, December 5, 2009

Suddenly Winter! My Winter Work Plan

Our first (very light!) snowfall has finally come, and John & I rode out this morning. I have consolidated a training plan for the winter arena riding, but the sun was just too warm and the snow too glittery to ride inside today.

But John had had a week off due to the aggravating imposition of work into my horse life. So he was feeling "fresh" as we say.

We went out into the woods. We came back from the woods. But what happened in the woods, stays in the woods. (John got a bit 'happy'.)


We are going to work hard at getting soft.

John can be quite the stiff ore-boat and I can be a stiff unyielding rider as well. So both of us are going to be working out to achieve the 3 goals of becoming


by spring 2010.

This will involve lots of bend work and lateral work, sets of gaiting circles, etc. for John and continued gym visits, running sets, elliptical, strength training, and yoga for me. Oh yes and both of us are going to lose some weight.

Anybody who knows some good arena style suppling equitation exercises, or can direct me to a book or DVD, please let me know. I've been working on figure-8's starting larger and getting gradually (one-half hoof width) smaller each time. But John inside an arena gets bored and sluggish fast so I am looking to surprise him and engage his interest.

Here's a little video I made of our trip to the woods, day one of becoming BOOTYLICIOUS!

What are your winter plans??


allaroundhorses said...

I do a lot of suppling expercises with my horse by constantly bending them. Kind of like doing a bunch of figure 8's, but more random...I really work them off my inside leg to make sure their whole bodies are supple.

You're not alone in the snow...we got our first snow this week and although it is very light it hasn't melted, I guess winter is here...

I love that, instead of a new years revolution it is the "winter training plan" :).

My winter training plan is getting my 2 year old I already started riding ready to show next year and getting the other 2 year old riding. Oh yeah and keeping my 4 year old show horse ready to go for next year's show season, and occasionally giving my 7 year old a ride to keep up to date since he will once again be used for a youth rider's showing this up comming summer and hoping my weanling and my 27 year old mare will not mind the winter off!

Good luck with your winter plan, keep us up to date!

Flying Lily said...

Wow Allaround you have got a lot of horse work!! That must be so interesting, to decide who gets to work on what. With me it's just John, me, and the arena. How do you choose who and what to work on? Cool to have so much variety...

Anonymous said...

I find large orange traffic cones very useful. I set them out in various places around the arena, and then work on all sorts of exercises using them as focus points - you can do all sorts of figures, lateral work, changes of speed within gaits and transitions, and even throw in some backing, and turn on the forehand and haunches for good measure. What makes it fun is that you can become very engaged in riding one segment and then can immediately change gait or direction for the next segment. I find "momentary transitions" really fun too, and my horse seems to enjoy them - try trot, walk two strides, trot a specific number of steps, repeat. And then you can reduce it to one step - the precision is the goal - and then even just introduce hesitations in the gait rather than a complete transition - it's fun to see how soft and subtle you can be and how closely the horse can pay attention.

Have fun!

Flying Lily said...

Kate, thanks so much; that sounds like an awesome program. We do have some big orange cones in the arena - and I can imagine using them for various exercises. And the momentary transitions are a terrific concept. I need to work on this. John takes many many steps for a transition at present. It will be a goal for us to get more instantaneous.

Tammy said...

Enjoyed "riding" with you!

I am in Nebraska and the winters aren't kind. My horses are at home & we don't have an indoor arena, so I am dependent upon the weather. Not good.

In the spring, I want to do a Limited Distance Ride (25 miler), so my goal is to get enough saddle time to keep my mare condiitioned. WE've done a cuple CTR's with more mileage, but not in one day or at the pace of an LD. So we have a ways to go!

Flying Lily said...

Tammy, I would love to do an LD ride some day. I think that kind of conditioning is so good for a horse's longevity. Can you do road riding in the winter? I always have to deal with my slip-on-ice phobia but there's one nice long flat dirt road near where I am now boarding, that I have my eyes on for warm winter days. How long does it take to ride 25 miles?

allaroundhorses said...

Variety is fun! I love all my horses...some days I ride/work with which ever horse gets to me first. I know this does not sound like the best way to manage things but I think those horses are way smarter than me, so I occasionally let them make the call. But what it usually comes down to is how much time I have to commit and my estimate on how much time each my horses will take me to get what I wanted to accomplish done with their lesson.

Lately my 4 year old has been a little bit of a snot, just spooking at random things and whatnot. I still try to ride him as often as possible. When I have the time and energy and the weather lets me, I ride him every day. Needless to say that has not happened lately.

I will not work with my 2 year olds more than every other day, because I like to start them slow. With my bay AQHA mare, I lunge her, then I ride her lightly. Very lightly. With my 2 year old APHA mare that I am not yet riding, I lunge her, then I ground drive her. But with both of those girls, if I do not have much time I will just lunge them, that alows me some flexability.

Then there is Chaps, my 7 year old Quarter Horse. I love to ride this boy. He has the kindest heart I have every met in a horse and he takes such good care of whoever is riding him, even if they do not have a clue. Plus I can ride him bareback and bridleless. So if I just need to ride and want it to be stress free, I ride him.

My 27 year old arab (Tiazz), I seldom ride her because she knows everything...too much for her own good if you ask me. But she is so quick on her toes and can turn on her hind quarters in an instant so she is my horse of choice when I am working cattle. Lucky for me she has NO arthritis and little signs of aging :).

Finally my weanling. He comes in the barn everyday to get his feed, but that has been about it lately. He is a big boy, already 13.3hh in his hip!!! I am expecting him to mature to around 16.2hh. And he is palomino, so I am hoping for a flashy hunt seat/allaround horse! We'll see what happens in the next couple years.

I do not have an indoor arena...any arena for that matter. Just some wide open space, yard and gravel roads. I make the best of what I have.

Unfortunatley I live in MN and it is freezing up here. I ride as long as I can stand to be outside without getting frostbite or whatever else that cold could do to me...

Oh and as far as what Kate said, the cones are great! I use those too.

Sorry that was way long...but you did ask how I decide which horse to ride :). As you can see, it is a combo of how much time I have, if I am riding because I need to get something done, ie the cattle are out, or if I am just doing another training session.

Flying Lily said...

AllAroundHorses: I am in love with Chaps!! He sounds like my John: likes the job of being a horse. I too live in MN and these long winters...I get fat and lazy. That's why I'm trying to be proactive this winter. I love the idea of letting the horse decide who works on a given day. They are so canny. Thanks for the great info.

cdncowgirl said...

Thanks for the ride! I have a wee confession, whenever I hear that song *I* hear "lookin sexy, lookin fly, fattest chick" oops that is probably not right hey?? lol

To break the indoor boredom try setting up little trail or obstacle courses with whatever you have handy. Cones, poles, "objects".

c2b said...

Wow we have everyone going on about how cold it is, it was 10c yesterday at about 8am!!! Perhaps I should send them over to you and see what a "real" winter feels like.

Flying Lily said...

cdncowgirl: I hear "Fattest" too! I read somewhere that Destiny's Child wrote that song as a kind of joke, to see if they could make a song too tacky to exist. When they were bored in a hotel on tour. So maybe it is "fattest chick"? "Jelly" definitely comes into the song later. Great idea about an obstacle course.

c2b: It's all relative...I suffer more from the cold at these transitional times, fall and spring. When it is the 'deep freeze' of negative digits F day after day, somehow it doesn't seem so bad. It's just that getting dressed to ride takes forever: layer, layer, layer...

Petra said...

I LOVE the video from the horse back, it feels like if I was sitting on John :o)
apart from staying in shape, enjoyr some winter trail riding, my plan for my 4 year old filly is to try out some skijoring...she works very well in the long reins and skijoring looks like so much fun

Anonymous said...

God helps those who help themselves........................................

Flying Lily said...

Petra! Skijoring sounds like so much fun. I wonder if John would allow that. What happens if you fall - is the horse at liberty then?

Anonymous: How true.

Autumn Mist said...

Greetings from England! Your blog is lovely. My husband is called John, so I found your blog very amusing. I am hardly able to ride atm because we have snow now, and we don't have an arena on site. I have to ride up the road to one I can use. My horse, Max, is very sluggish in the school, and I am always trying to think of ways to keep things fresh for him. I love exercises like: trot down the long side of the arena, turn and do a 10m circle in the corner. As soon as you get back to the track, canter off and go large right round to half way down the next long side and keep repeating. Max seems to like this, as he's never sure what's coming next, which keeps his interest. We use trotting poles a lot, do you have those? It does wonders for their fitness.
Pop over to my blog some time, you'll be very welcome.

allhorsestuff said...

I am soo smiling with your very cute video!
Well...once my mare gets over her terribly painful heal bruise...I am going to restart our hill work...we have a mountain to climb in the spring. We are at 1300 ft and Goat Mountain is 3000 feet.
Other than that...we were working on a clover leaf pattern over ground polls before the injury happened.
I like Kate's idea of focal points too...we do tons for suppleness .

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