The Bizarre Process Of Making Friends On The Internet, And Canter Poles

BOY do I have a weekend recap for y'all!

On Saturday I braved the snow/sleet/rain/nonsense to meet none other than Jenn from Stories From The Saddle at my favorite tack shop ever - Horsemen's Outlet.

Jenn needed to check out boots and breeches, consign some things, and experience the equestrian wonderland that is Horsemen's, and I just can't say no to a day of shopping for horse stuff.

Let me say that Jenn is just as fabulous in person as she is online! The internet is a funny thing - we both felt as if we've been friends for a long, long time and had an absolutely awesome afternoon shopping around and then heading to the diner for disco fries. Jenn is easy to talk to, funny, and genuine. I'm so thankful that blogging brought us together as friends!

We're also TERRIBLE PEOPLE and didn't photograph the event. Next time!

I also... wait for it... RODE MY PONY this weekend!

The stars aligned in a combination of freakishly-warm temperatures, good health, and back pain of a moderately tolerable level. There was no way I wasn't getting on my mighty steed last night!

We also debuted our new teal-and-white saddle pad that I'm basically in love with:

How gorgeous does that look on chestnut?!
I was ambitious and set up a challenging canter pole exercise for our ride - it's one I highly recommend to get horses thinking about their feet and compressing and balancing their stride. Set 5+ canter poles as usual, with the first two poles being your horse's average stride length apart in distance. For Dino, I usually set the first two at 11 feet. While he can easily do a 12 foot horse step, the point of this exercise is to compress and balance, so I don't want him reaching or getting flat if he comes in without enough impulsion. Then roll the subsequent poles in 6" shorter - by the end of the set the poles will be a full 1 or 2 feet closer together, depending on how many you use.

As the horse canters through, keep your leg on softly and a steady contact with the reins, allowing them to figure it out by themselves. I rode this in half seat, since I know that I can get a little micro-managey when I sit the canter!

Dino was on point last night and totally nailed the exercise! By the end of the poles, his canter had a lot more 'jump' and I could really feel his front end coming up over the last one. Before we even stared working on the poles, he also gave me the most LOVELY left-lead canter he's offered in months! Soft, forward, round, and I didn't need to hold him up or remind him to stay on the bit. Dreamy.

And that's it for 'real' riding for a while... everything's going to freeze rock solid and my trainer is going to be down south for a month. Anyone with an indoor want to adopt us??


  1. Ooh! That teal IS pretty! I wish pretty colored dressage saddle pads weren't so expensive. You have me dreaming of a lovely bright teal velvet one...

    1. This pad is one of the Dover ones that goes on sale for $10 all the time! I do know they make dressage pads in a lot of similar colors, you should see if they have a teal one! It looks SO good on chestnut... Guinness needs one for sure.

  2. Ooh, the teal looks super dreamy!

  3. Meeting other bloggers is a great treat! Glad y'all had fun

  4. Thank the colour wheel -- nothing looks better with orange than blue!! Love the pad & LOVE the exercise; that's a new one for me, I like it! BFF & I love to torture our horses (i.e. make them think about their feet) by riding them on all kinds of woods trails & mtns. One of my big rules for any horse I'm going to ride XC is, "hey, I'll give you the strength, the line, & as much rhythm as I can; you better take care of the jumping & terrain balancing shit on your own, learn how to use your own legs & feet." I'm fair in the teaching, we go progressively, of course, but I'm all about the "fifth leg," & that's a great exercise that doesn't require leaving the field!

    1. It was taught to a good friend of mine by John & Beezie Madden, and she passed it on to me! I'm just sharing the love!

  5. yay for meeting bloggers!! and love that exercise too - never thought of varying the distance between the poles, but it makes total sense. my mare tends to flatten and rush as she moves through the poles, so this would maybe help her stay balanced? good food for thought!


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