Wednesday, August 06, 2008

wednesday work-outs

This morning Keil Bay was intent on standing at his stall door after breakfast, and since it is hot and I didn't really want to tack him up, I took him in the arena to play on the ground.

When he realized I was planning to do ground work, he resisted a little, but once in the arena he perked up and I did some free-lunging, with my primary goal being to get him landing really well up front, heel first, and to carry himself with some balance and lightness.

He initially used the entire arena, going in his own figure-8 pattern around and then changing directions across the diagonals. It was interesting to see him form this pattern on his own - if he gets bored or simply doesn't want to play, he will often get hung up in the corners. Today he didn't.

After about 15 minutes of walk/trot/canter, he decided he was done, but I wanted him to push a bit further and do more of his big trot. I realized today, not a total revelation, but more like a reiteration, that when he does his big beautiful trot he is landing heel first AND moving with balance, lightness, and ease. Duh! But it occurred to me that by not working him more at this gait/frame, which he does quite naturally on his own, I'm contributing to any problems. When he uses his back, lands correctly, and carries himself, it's better for every part of his body.

So I asked him to do more of that. The really fascinating part of this exercise was that when I asked him to push on and do more, he balked for just a moment but then he clicked into gear. Instead of using the entire arena in a big figure-8 pattern, he began to lunge around me using about 1/2 the arena, doing a darn good circle on his own volition. He even changed directions and did everything the other way. We got very crisp up-transitions and more big trot, and then I let him canter to stretch out some and then cooled off with turns on the forehand and haunches.

When I opened the gate to the paddock so he could head on out, he didn't leave! He just stood there licking and chewing. It was a really nice end to some work in the hot sun, which is admittedly not my favorite time to be in the arena.

Just as I convinced Keil Bay to leave the arena, Rafer Johnson squeezed his way in, and then Cody and Apache Moon came in too. They got some work with my daughter, who set up a few jumps and let them walk and trot for a bit before moving them into cantering these verticals.

Rafer Johnson is a jumping machine! I have never seen anything like it. He takes the jumps like a little eventer. And he will literally push his way through the gap in the gate and the post in order to do this.

Speaking of work-outs, it's time to get back on my own schedule and alternate between yoga, Pilates mat work, and the gym. I think today I'll do Pilates.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Keil Bay must be feeling great. I like that he practically lunged himself in the exercises he likes best, he must have been an awesome sight to see.
I would just love to see a video of Rafer jumping, that must be hilarious.
As for yourself, I don't know where you find the energy to exercise in the heat after working with the horses, but good for you!

billie said...

He was very forward today, which was great to see.

Re: the energy to exercise myself - I don't know that it's actually there to find, but I am trying to get back to the routine and build strength in my core. I get started and then fall off the wagon. :)