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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

April 28, 2009

Walk, trot, & whoa transitions

Since we are relegated to light exercise and from the ground at that, we are just working on very slow walk and trot transitions, with a verbal whoa, and then a cued back-up, reverse the other direction, and repeat. She is working five minutes walking as a warm up, and 10 doing transitions, then we slow walk back to the paddock. She's not really working up a sweat or anything so a serious cool down doesn't seem warranted. By the time I walk her out of the pen, out the gate, and down the drive to the pasture gate I figure she's find.

If I could get this horse to trot under saddle the way she does on a long line it would be wonderful. She has a soft little pitty-pat trot, kind of western pleasure style. You wouldn't cover much ground with it, but nor would you overwork those big dorsal muscles on the top line of the rump. It looks effortless. Our attempts at a trot under saddle have always been a go-go-go sort of trot, where the legs really push out and you are cranking about 9-10 mph. This pitty-pat trot probably wouldn't push over 5-6 mph. Which would barely squeak us by to a completion. If I could get control of both, then I could alternate, and we'd be good to complete a slow ride.

In some ways not all bad has come out of this situation. It has made me really look harder at the job I'm asking of my horse. This recovery period gives me no option but to work slow, and slow is what I've struggled to get a across.
I'm ultra convinced that don't tarry, don't hurry means exactly that. Though I'm still fiddling with the mechanics of it, I feel as though we could attempt another ride this year as long as I ride my own ride, not keep pace with anyone else (even my buds!), shut her down when someone blows by us until they are well out of sight, and spend plenty of time by ourselves at the water stops on the second loop. We won't have any five day pre-ride layoffs from her work schedule in the future either if I can bodily help it.

Phebes has been pretty well behaved throughout this set-back. I'm trying to get her soft and relaxed, and so far we are making progress. This is a little tedious for me, but tedium teaches patience, and God knows I could use more of that. ~E.G.


  1. Sounds like you are making the best of a frusterating situation. Looking back, I've been grateful for the times that my horses have been laid up - during one such lay up I had to hand walk Farley for 40 mintues a day - we got to know eachother and I even taught her to ground drive (at a walk). All that ground work REALLY paid off once I was back in the saddle.

    Heehehehe. I LOVED your last paragraph. Are all endurance riders at the core impatient people? I think that was one of the hardest lessons I'm still learning. I can get there faster by going slower..... (yawn...).

  2. Are your irises getting close to blooming??

    I've got "101 Arena Exercises" by Cherry Hill, which has some amazing tricks to use to help gain specific control like you're talking about w/ the 5-6 mph to the 9-10 mph trot.

    I have never really had access to an arena, so many of these exercises could certainly be adapted to the trail, even.

    I could bring it with me then if you'd be interested in borrowing it.

  3. Nicole,

    The dwarfs are about done blooming, but the talls are going to be opening in a about a week to ten days, and it is so fun to see all the pretty colors! You come on down and pick out a few for your yard. I will share any except my own hybrids which I'm trying to get more of. And if there is enough of one of my variety I might part with some of that too. I'd love to read your book :) Just stay in touch, and we'll mark you some iris for digging come July. I have a LOT OF THEM!

  4. Great! Hope you don't mind me inviting myself over!! ;-)

  5. I'll let you know when, and you know you don't need an invite. When you come do bring old shoes or boots, as there is a lot of old manure spread on the rows.