Spring is finally coming to Pennsylvania, and I find myself newly motivated to ride and improve myself and my pony. The arena footing now resembles actual footing rather than the polar ice caps, and Dino has been spending more time wearing his light sheet instead of his heavy blanket. Things are looking up.

And since I can actually ride now, I've been catching up on all of the equestrian education I was too depressed to take advantage of over the winter.

One of my favorite resources is eventiontv.com. This site is run by eventing couple Dom and Jimmie Schramm, and they pretty much seem like the nicest, most down-to-earth people on the planet. Plus they are both great trainers, and the 10 minute videos on their site are full of great ideas for schooling, show preparation, and different riding exercises, as well as being quite entertaining. Evention is a super way to take a quick brain break in the middle of a workday, too!

Another great site is getmyfix.org. Get My Fix features a column called 5 Minute Clinic in which top riders and trainers share their favorite riding tips and exercises. I plan on building this grid from one of the articles on the site within the next few weeks:

It's 3 trot poles to a small fence, two strides to an oxer, one stride to a vertical. I think it will be a good one that will help Dino land, think, and collect instead of getting strung out.

And let's not forget YOUTUBE! I don't even remember how I stumbled upon this set of videos from European jumper rider Malin Baryard, but they're awesome. I've already put this particular one to use:

Again, it's one that encourages horses & riders to think and balance after landing, which is something we definitely need to work on! 

I set up a crossrail, three strides to a set of trot poles for Dino and I on Friday. WOW did we have a hard time with this one, but in a good way! My pony cantered through the trot poles, quite nimbly I might add, the first several times we tried this. It turned out to be an awesome exercise for both of us as it required me to do several things in order to ride it successfully: 
  • Get a good canter BEFORE making the turn to the fence. Trying to coordinate my pace & balance on the approach just doesn't work. 
  • Follow Dino's head and neck through the air with an automatic release. If I throw away the contact with a crest release, there is no hope of bringing him to a trot in time. 
  • Sit up, or as Elissa says, "become yourself again". I cannot just canter away in a listless half seat and expect to be able to get the downward transition in three strides or less! 
I think that once we master this exercise, it will mark a huge improvement in our jumping! We were both exhausted & sweaty at the end of our rides this weekend, and although my thighs are in pain, it feels great to be back to work. 

A happy, tired pony!

What are your favorite educational resources?


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