Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trot Poles and Canter Transition on Ronnie

Wednesday I rode Ronnie in the jumping arena because the dressage arena had standing puddles of water in it from the recent rain. Ronnie was quite frisky, as horses tend to get when it is cold and rainy, or when the weather changes, but not enough that she was difficult to ride. At one long side of the arena, beyond a line of trees,were dogs and horses that belonged to the neighboring place, so I stuck to the other side. It was only my first time in that arena and Ronnie's second, and Meghan didn't want Ronnie to spook.

 There was one point when Ronnie got nervous about something and broke into trot from the walk, but it wasn't a major spook when the horse jumps up and to the side. I returned to walk, reassured her, and continued on. I walked, then trotted in each direction, being cautious when I changed directions because things can look scarier in the other direction. 

After trotting in both directions, I circled one of the many jumps, which were arranged throughout the arena in a course, and prepared to ask for canter. When I asked for canter, Ronnie leaped into canter, kicking out her hind leg. and squealing. I've seen her do the several times and she has done it to me once or twice before this lesson. Ronnie is sensitive and gets fussy when her rider looks down, shifting her weight forward and possibly even pulling on Ronnie's mouth during the transition,  making it hard to her to balance. This is exactly what I've been doing and is the major part that needs work to polish up my canter. I find myself looking down and leaning forward, just during the transition. I cantered a lot for the next 15 or so minutes of the lesson, taking short trot breaks in between. Ronnie got a bit fast to, and would all out of canter if I half halted too much. 

 To fix my transition, Meghan had me sit the trot, circling a cross rail on the far end of the arena. As I sat several times around, I had to use my muscles to hold myself in the saddle so I didn't bounce around,and amazing, when I sat the trot into the canter, the transition was much better and my position as well. While cantering, I also had to use more inside, another thing I have to work on. I have to push Ronnie out with my inside leg, not the outside rein, not letting her lean on my leg instead. 
Trot poles

 After my successful transition, I worked on trot poles. I tend to look down at trot poles just as I pass over then. The two trot poles were parallel to the long side of the arena, so I would have to head into the half near to the dogs, heading straight to the round pen with the barn on my right(remember the dressage arena is to the left if you're facing the barn). I started by tracking left and heading over the trot poles, always from the same side whether I turned left or right to get to them. The first several times, Ronnie hopped over them. After going over it multiple times, Meghan told me to look at the trailer in front of the dressage arena and tell her whether it had a vent or not so I could keep my eyes up. She had done a similar thing when I was jumping at Silver Rose. This time around went smoothly. When I had something to focus on, I didn't glance down at the last moment. I went over the poles quite a few times, changing directions regularly, and finally ending once I got a few good ones in a row. 

 I had a good lesson and it was nice to try trot poles again. I am going to be riding Ronnie two days a week for now. Her owner is being very generous because I'm not leasing her,; she just lets me ride Ronnie. Also, check out this giveaway and win a saddle! Click these two(contest,contest) as well because you have enter at each day. 


  1. i have the exact same problem with looking down at poles or jumps or even just where i'm going. and the leaning forward bit is totally relatable too! i'm going to take your suggestion though, about sitting trot and see if that works better. have a happy holiday season!


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