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Changing up the flat work

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  • Changing up the flat work

    I feel like I've gotten into that so called "hunter slump" where on hack days (not lessons/show/jumping) I seem to just w/t/c in both directions and be done. Now I LOVE flatwork and I find good flatwork basics imperative to good o/f but once I actually start riding I just have no idea how to change it up. I know my horse and I are both getting bored. Any suggestions? I love trail rides but I have to find someone to head out with me which is easier said than done.

  • #2
    Dressage lessons!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Or if dressage lessons aren't in the pic, pick up this book:

      http://www.amazon.com/101-Dressage-E.../dp/1580175953

      LOTS of great exercises, and you don't have to be a "dressage person" to understand and do them.

      Comment


      • #4
        how about doing exercises using ground rails. No jumping involved but you can work on lengthening and shortening for example or make various arcs to work on your timing.
        I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you

        Comment


        • #5
          Set your goal at Grand Prix dressage.

          Until you get there, you'll have plenty to do!
          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
          Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
          Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
          The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

          Comment


          • #6
            I love poles! I also remind myself to not waste my walk. I do my versions of shoulder-in, leg yield, and turn on the haunch and forehand. I also do transitions within the gaits.

            Comment


            • #7
              I do a million different combinations of cavaletti/ground pole work with trot poles and canter poles, and vary the heights I set my cavaletti to. It helps a lot!

              Comment


              • #8
                RolyPoly: Thanks for the book recommendation, I loved what I saw on line and just bought it!

                Agree with others here: hunter work really benefits from basic dressage. My OTTB is much better balanced and his transitions have greatly improved with basic dressage instruction. You dont need a dressage saddle or different equipment to do the basics. It has also really helped me get stronger.

                Agree also about poles, and I add an Xrail or two and hop over them as part of our regular hack. As I am trying to build my jumping confidence, regular trotting over a couple x rails each time we work is helping us make them feel "normal".
                "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
                as a thoroughbred horse."

                -JOHN GALSWORTHY

                Comment


                • #9
                  I ride a Morgan who gets bored easily and then starts acting up. When his brain gets fried on w/t/c around and around, we trot ground poles or do a pattern. He loves patterns -- he gets all excited (in a good way).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OH gosh there is so much fun flatwork to do!!

                    I have the 101 Dressage Exercises book and it's great to get the gears spinning. Even if I don't necessarily do the exact exercises, it gives me ideas of different ways to work through training issues, strengthening, etc.

                    But serpentines, circles, transitions within gaits, trot/halt/trot, trot/reinback/trot, ohhh what else... lateral work, lateral work AND transitions...

                    NO STIRRUP WORK!! On days when I flat I usually ride my warmup (stretchy w/t/c) without stirrups and then take them back and REALLY get to work on our flatwork. Or you can just ditch them for the entire ride.

                    Work on dressage tests! They are ALL available online on either the usef or usdf websites.

                    I only jump about once a week, and the rest of the time I am kept very very busy with my flatwork.

                    Have fun!
                    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                    PONY'TUDE

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is going to sound really dorky (and will thus confirm my dorkiness), but...

                      I pretend I'm doing different disciplines, and I change it up a lot. I'll pretend that I'm riding a GP dressage horse and do an extended trot across the diagonal or pirouettes.

                      Reining? Can't quite do a sliding stop, but can hand gallop, halt, spin, and gallop off again. Can also do the spins at a standstill, although not very long because WM gets annoyed by those.

                      Equitation? Counter canter (and various other eq tests).

                      Nikki's personal favorite is pretending to be a race horse, where I take her out in a field and let her gallop around.

                      We also emulate hunter undersaddles and attempted Western pleasure, although that didn't work out because I can't really get a jog or lope out of Nikki. It's a lot of fun, though, and really gets your horse attentive to your aids if you switch it up!

                      Going back to my dork corner now.
                      http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                      Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                        This is going to sound really dorky (and will thus confirm my dorkiness), but...

                        I pretend I'm doing different disciplines, and I change it up a lot. I'll pretend that I'm riding a GP dressage horse and do an extended trot across the diagonal or pirouettes.

                        Reining? Can't quite do a sliding stop, but can hand gallop, halt, spin, and gallop off again. Can also do the spins at a standstill, although not very long because WM gets annoyed by those.

                        Equitation? Counter canter (and various other eq tests).

                        Nikki's personal favorite is pretending to be a race horse, where I take her out in a field and let her gallop around.

                        We also emulate hunter undersaddles and attempted Western pleasure, although that didn't work out because I can't really get a jog or lope out of Nikki. It's a lot of fun, though, and really gets your horse attentive to your aids if you switch it up!

                        Going back to my dork corner now.
                        You're not a dork!! I love those ideas, and I (secretly) do those things too. My jumper/dressage pony has a killer WP jog! Pretend to be an eventer and do some hill work and trot sets.
                        Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                        PONY'TUDE

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by caradino View Post
                          You're not a dork!! I love those ideas, and I (secretly) do those things too. My jumper/dressage pony has a killer WP jog! Pretend to be an eventer and do some hill work and trot sets.
                          I already gallop up and down a hill and do trot sets up a ridge in the woods. I'm well rounded
                          http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                          Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            These are all great ideas. I have another that I enjoy.....if you have a woods nearby, going off the trail and letting a horse pick his way over ground cover,downed limbs and even rocks...as well as crossing waterways really makes him aware of where his feet are and I think he finds it interesting.
                            "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt

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