Every sport involves packaging energy

I weirdly came to this realization yesterday, when I was riding Oats. We were just hacking around, my trainer was riding her horse. I was tired, not feeling super energized and just kind of ‘blahh’ but my ride was quite lovely- Oats is a fun ride no matter how I am feeling!

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Working on energy!

We hopped over some x-rails and then I did some more work over the 1 pole- packaging his canter so it is ‘tight’ and ‘bouncy’ so I can control the take-off spot to the pole. I started noticing that with this ‘bouncy’ canter, his take off for the pole was far more ‘up’ and explosive than his usualĀ blahhhhhh canter, where he launches from a long spot, very flat and strung out.

Packaging his canter= gathering up energy. Who would have thought?

Ha, it’s so obvious to everyone BUT me! The work I did with him over raised poles last week has cemented in my brain that Oats needs more than one type of canter. I never knew how to achieve that, or capture that feeling, until we did that exercise and now…Now I know what I am going for.

I am planning on working up to that tight ‘packaged’ canter to fences. It is hard work for Oats, so I don’t want to burn him out on it. That’s why when I have been playing around with the exercise, we do a few jumps at a regular ‘easy’ canter, and then collect it for the pole, then let it out again.

And I was talking about this with my husband, who was saying that essentially every sport involves directing energy- and the way you do this is through becoming more efficient, technically and mechanically. Without technique, you can’t just raw-power through it. This reminds me of when I am asking Oats to go forward, he just gets flat and strung out- and we get poles down- when I package the canter, we get a much more powerful ‘up’ jump.

Hmm…

That’s beyond our skill set! Well, how do you expect to learn that skill then?

Wish it was summer!

Wish it was summer!

Hah, we had an interesting and challenging dressage lesson last night.

We worked on picking up the canter on a 10-metre circle from a walk and GASP- keeping the canter!

Now, to note, we were definitely not really successful with many components of this exercise…The circle part, the transitions, staying in the canter…But overall it was a very good learning exercise.

What did I learn from it? To trust that Oats will do it, to not lean in and drop the contact, effectively ‘dropping’ him in the transition (which he doesn’t like!) and trust that he will complete the transition, not be a jerk about it, and will continue in the canter.

We didn’t quite achieve all of it, but I did find that I was expecting the worst. Expecting him to be a little shit about the transition, dropping out of the canter, etc. I did all of my worst habits- leaned in, dropped contact, let my hands get defensively high, took my leg off, etc.

And it was tough! I was like ”this is above our skill set!!” and Karen was like, ”well how do you expect to get that skill? Keep trying at least!”

HA, no excuses here. Though I did feel like a bit of an excuse machine! We moved on to the left, which did still have issues but was smoother, and then back to the right.

We were definitely not ‘successful’ but I was learning, inch by inch, to trust that Oats wants to do this and we CAN do it (or something close to it). I also got the mother of all butt cramps in my high hip/leg area and holy god it hurt.

It was also death by 1,000 transitions night, which was a challenging time in itself. But it felt pretty good, better than it has been. We ended with getting a big trot, and working down to get their heads low, on the ground low (note- this didn’t happen either, but oh well…learning process right?).

A good, mentally challenging and apparently physically challenging lesson as well. For me and Oats! Haha.

Sleepy clipped Oats

Oats after our lesson (not actually, this was him tranqed for a clip)