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Wizard Ride 280: Running Faster All the Time

September 14, 2011

Hello, Wizard!

Monday, 9/12/11

I did not have to be in the office until 5pm (thank you, Keeneland September Sale), so I rode in the early afternoon before work. It was warm and buggy, but comfortable enough for what we were doing. I warmed Wizard up at a walk in the indoor arena, but took the ride outdoors because the arena was watered but not yet dragged. We then tried riding in the dressage court outside, but it was a little wet from the overnight downpours. We ended up in the big arena. The footing was wet but secure enough for trot and canter work.

My three mantras are: Tempo, Contact, and Clarity. Keep the tempo the same. Don’t let Wizard rush. When we go from a walk to a trot, he likes to bounce into a quick little trot. I made sure not to let him run into a trot, and it worked better. For the first five minutes of trotting, his neck was tight and his topline was a little tense. We kept going. We worked on contact. I have gotten much better about not feeding the reins through my fingers. I keep contact. Interestingly, I was wearing a very old pair of gloves that are not very grippy. The lack of grippiness almost helped because it made me actually close my hands on the reins. As we worked on contact, I also focused on my clarity of signals. I’m using the top inside of my calf for leg aids instead of cheating and bumping him with my heel. Wizard is light enough on the aids that he responds. I keep the signals clear, and I am serious about them. As I focused on all of these things, Wizard softened. He took the bit. His back loosened. His stride lengthened, and we slowed to a nice “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” tempo. We serpentined and did large circles, and trotted over two tiny crossrails. After the second crossrail, he cantered and I kept the canter going. I sat lightly in the saddle and worked on contact. I avoided driving with my seat. When Wizard rushed, I half-halted for one stride, and released for the next stride. On both leads, we got a nice “La Isla Bonita” canter tempo. Maybe Wizard can pick a hipper song next time :^P

I’m continuing my work to avoid over-thinking my canter signal, and just roll into it. It’s working, with practice!

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 14, 2011 1:53 pm

    I love the song references for tempo! That’s a great way to put it.

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