Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Short School

Too Nice Not to Ride

The footing in the ring was really good, depsite the mud puddles.

So, after I cleaned the stalls, I saddled Tucker up and worked him a bit.

Again, I concentrated on getting him to stretch out into the bit so his back muscles would lengthen and stretch out. With the better footing he was more consistent, but Toby and Chance kept frolicking about and that would excite him a little.

Now, mind you "excite" meant that Tucker would raise his head rather then keep it in the lower, relaxed frame. He only offered one little quick step when Chance bolted past the gate, but otherwise, I would give him high marks for not overreacting to the silliness going on around him.

I put him into a first level frame for a bit and got a lovely trot. Then, I tried some canter--walk--canter transitions. Again, it was better left to right than right to left. He just doesn't balance as well on the right lead and when I ask for the downward he tends to fall into a trot instead of balancing into a walk. However, since I haven't tried this exercise in a while, I certainly can't complain. By the end of the session he almost had it. I definitely need to refine the half halt before the downward and that will help a lot.

Once we'd worked in the frame, I let him stretch out again and this time he was far more ready, willing and able to just "hang" out there where I wanted him to be.

I would have taken Toby out for a quiet hack in the woods, but when I showed him the bridle, he headed the other way, so it was pretty clear he wasn't interested.

It was just as well. By the time I finished feeding I was beat. I am not over my cold, so taking it easy was probably a good idea.

There may be a storm headed our way tomorrow night. If so, that's the end of the good footing for a while again.

Glad I took advantage today, even if it did wear me out for the time being.


  1. language divide ... what's first level frame?

  2. Let's see, First Level. The lowest level are the Intro Tests, mostly walk-trot and these are not used in the recognized (sanctioned) shows. The horse just needs to make the patterns. Then comes Training Level. Horses walk, trot and canter, in a long, round frame. First Level is the next where the horse begins to elevate the frame and engage the hindquaters more. 10 meter circles at the trot, and leg yields. Trot lengthenings and canter lengthenings come here too, and the horse must make transitions at the markers. There is also the change of lead through the trot at this level. So, essentially the horse needs to be correctly on the bit and somewhat balanced.

    Second level adds the simple change of lead through the walk, the reinback, shoulder-in, renvers, medium trot, collected trot, counter canter, all requiring more engagement, collection, and elevation.

    Third level: turn on the haunches, half-pass, flying change, extended canter, extended trot, canter half pass.

    Fourth level: very collected canter (This is a new one for me), walk pirouettes, canter pirouettes, tempi changes.

    From then on it's FEI tests, Prix St. Georges, Intermediare I, II, and Grand Prix.

    Toby and PJ both went to Intermediare I, so I know I can train to that level. From then on, it's a new adventure. I hope Tucker will be at Second Level this season and if so, I would like to move up to Third by the fall....maybe. We'll see.

  3. thanks jean!

    interesting how the same activity can result in totally different words for the levels.

    i think over here we do prelim then novice, then medium and then on up; we don't have intro tests (or at least, we didn't last time i did any affiliated stressage... you never know, this time next year?).

    i was always lucky to get 50%.... think i'm riding better now ? who knows.