This year I'm easing up on myself so far as "goals" go with winter riding. I always think I'll be able to do a lot more than I actually can and then feel guilt when I can't reach my goals. This year I want to work each Q and Grif 2x/week for > 20 minutes and I want to work Stan 1x/week. It may be lunging inside with or without ground poles or heading to the back field where I have various ground pole exercises and gymnastic grids setup.
Griffin helped me set up and test the first of many exercises once we got back to Elkins as I never moved my jumps and poles to Canaan.
After seeing the zig zag poles exercise (exercise 3 here) make its rounds on numerous blogs, opted to set that one up first:
As my poles aren't exactly the same as what the original exercise calls for, figuring out the pole placing is still a work in progress. I need to remember to bring a measuring tape!
I've ridden the exercise at both a walk and trot on Griffin and a walk on Q so far. Both horses took to it easily. Trotting shows exactly where my eyeballed measurements are off, so I haven't trotted it too much yet as a result!
Not wanting to throw any horse directly into the zig zag exercise - and really not knowing what to do with the surplus of odd length poles I've amassed - I opted to throw 3 of my 3½ poles together as trot poles.
It's simple and easy, but they are quite narrow, so the horses do need to be paying attention to what is asked or we'll miss our mark. Grif has no issue with this though and locks easily onto them at the walk and trot.
Finally, for the moment, I have a small gymnastic grid setup with 3 cavaletti bounces ending with a one stride vertical.
I worked Grif through this grid several times both the day I set it up and in days after. He compressed himself to a very awkward 2 strides our first go through, but we nailed it afterward.
Since then, I opted to see how he may handle a 4 bounce grid with the 3 cavaletti leading to the vertical; the cavaletti are set at 18" and the vertical is 2'6". Griffin is no stranger to bounce work over those cavaletti - but the cavaletti bounces ending with a higher vertical? I wasn't sure how that would go.
Apparently, Griffin wasn't so certain either as he refused the first go through! I put my leg on for our next round though and we got through it with room to spare. Subsequent passes were even better and I loved feeling him really use his hind end through the exercise. I've never really felt him bundle himself up so carefully before - it was awesome! I foresee a lot more jump grids with more height in his future...
I've got several of the Horse Physio ground pole exercises printed off for the future to pair with exercises from my 101 Dressage and Jumping Exercises books and various other exercises that have been in Practical Horseman over the years. With any luck, I won't run out of things to do this winter! From a riding standpoint, I'd love to come through winter thinking, "Wow, that flew by!" though the skier in me is certainly rooting for a long snowy winter.
How about you - Does the winter weather and shorter daylight hours limit your riding also? What do you do to combat it? What are some of your favorite ground pole exercises to work through?
I like your plan. I'm trying to figure out mine for Carmen. As per usual I'm not ready to give up riding but don't want to be working as hard as over the spring-summer-early fall seasons. That zig zag exercise intrigues me- how does it work?ReplyDelete
Exercise 3 here: http://www.horsemagazine.com/thm/2017/02/better-dressage-through-cavaletti-training-yes/ Linked above now! =)Delete
thank you! Those are wonderful and I have pinned them!Delete
Those look that really good exercises. It reminds me to dig it my 101 Jumping Exercises Book as well. Right now I’m sorta screwed with riding. I have no lights and it is dark when I get home from work, so I am limited to weekend riding only. Ick. But hopefully soon that will change and we can get back to our two day a week work scheduleReplyDelete
Oh no! Hopefully you can get a simple light solution or something figured out for your property. So many neat ideas are floating around blogland these days from others with lights at home. Maybe one will work for you?Delete
I need to start collecting poles so I can do fun things like this! I love the idea of short sessions all winter to break up the cold weather doldrums and keep building on current progress.ReplyDelete
I've gotten most of my poles from other projects that were throwing them out!! 6 came with my standards, but all of the other oddballs were someone else's trash lolDelete
Wahoo! So much good stuff. I did the diagonal poles at some point in the last year- Penn was very "holy crap, what is straightness" but it was extremely beneficial!ReplyDelete
Lol yep, you summed up Grif's reaction the first several times perfectly! WHUT. NO. Okay, I'll try.Delete
those look like super fun exercises!! i can't wait to get back to grid and pole work --- charlie needs it so badly (and let's be real, so do i, lol)ReplyDelete
They're so tedious - but damn do they help so much!Delete
Ahhhh gymnastics and bounces, Oh my! I have been doing a lot of these lately too, and I have a love hate relationship with them. I obviously recognize their benefit, but I also hate how hard they can be! I'm pretty sure Rio feels the same way.ReplyDelete
I'm lucky to live in Texas and board at a barn in lighted outdoors and an indoor- so assuming the weather stays mild I continue to work right through the winter!
<3 Kelly @ HunkyHanoverian
You've got an amazing facility! I wish we had lights and footing that drained well to enjoy through the winter.ReplyDelete
That zig-zag exercise is an old favorite of mine and I love seeing it making the rounds!ReplyDelete
It's so versatileDelete
Oh shit I love those zig zags, how have I never seen that before?ReplyDelete
We have an indoor, so the lack of light is not a problem. The cold is. I am lucky in that I can sometimes flex my schedule to leave early if I really need to get some horse time in.
Pole setting tip: figure out how many toe-to-heel steps to do. F'rexample, I know that 5 steps (laying my heel directly at my toe, then again, in my riding boots) is a good middle-to-small trot distance for him. 6 steps is a good stretch & reach. 4 is a quick stifle workout.
That's a great tip on the heel toe as it relates to their steps!Delete
I love that zig zag exercise! I need to get better at setting up little things like this in my small ring:)ReplyDelete
I am still finessing my ability to setup things like this - they tend to be a little trickier than they seem hahaDelete
I did that zigzag exercise at a clinic and loved it. We've replicated it at home as well. We have no electricity at our barn so riding in the winter can only get done in the morning and as I am not a morning person I often wake up to the alarm, skip snooze and turn the alarm off and then go back to sleep. Thus very little riding gets done.ReplyDelete
Bummer on the electricity! That's gotta be hard to plan around this time of yearDelete