Hello everyone, I must apologise about my absence in the blogging world recently, my last Dante update was about going to the gallops which feels like months ago! I have been upto my eyes with so much stuff, there has been an awful lot going on at home and to be honest I didn’t have a clear head to be dealing with sitting down & scrutinizing my riding and my progress, regardless of the good or bad outcome.
Keeping this post as positive as I can, Dante has been one of a kind, you really dont realise how much of an escape your horse can actually be until you need to get out clear the head and have a big friendly giant put a smile on your face out of no fault of his own but down to his “special-ness” and let me tell you, Dante has loads of it!
Dante’s progress has been huge in certain area’s of his riding, I am not sure if you have seen one of our recent Instagram posts, but he is now capable of carrying himself in an outline! This is a HUGE progress step for us, as it has been something we have really been working on.
Over the past few months, he has really matured & quietened down in most elements of his work, I wont lie sometimes he still has his moments, but he is giving me so much more leeway to get work done & to progress further with his training rather than spending time battling his silly arguments! A number of things have come together for us recently,
- Repetitive Physio Work, every 3 months to keep on top of his progress
- Dante Finding his Feet (one day he finds them, the next it feels like he has 12 legs!)
- Behaviour Issues
- Maturing (slightly)
- Working in that outline (Finally!!)
I myself have been trying to focus on my own riding position. This plays a huge role whilst up on top of Dante. I found that my leg position is actually quite poop! I have so many bad habits, and to be fair they are habits that I picked up in fear of falling off him, or being flung off over a fence due to tantrums so my legs were simply reacting to holding on for dear life!
With the help of Heather @freya_the_connemara she gave me a stirrup-less/rein-less lunging lesson, this is something I would definitely recommend everyone doing at least once. It really exaggerates the proper position you should be holding, it makes you really work toward having that good seat also.
My leg position on Dante is quite crucial, I need my legs for everything, balance, control, giving correct aids, Dante doesn’t tolerate an awful lot of contact, he is extremely sensitive to the mouth so my legs make up for all of that. Doing some no rein work over trot poles, and small fences during our workout session really helped to encourage him to drop the head, and to be fair to him he was a saint, I was grabbing onto my Jesus strap for dear life in fear he’d take off but he was as good as gold. It’s almost as if he hates that “being trapped” feeling! Riding him straight away with a short rein just doesn’t do it for him, you get an argument, so on our warm ups he gets a long lose (but safe long rein) and I gradually shortening up.
Attitude To Work
Our attitude to work has completely changed, he has really relaxed into himself an awful lot more. At the beginning it was as if he was too relaxed, it really had me on edge for a good two weeks just waiting on the precautions, but no, I was wrong! Sometimes it just takes a while for the penny to actually drop, and it feels great!
He is more willing to learn, while the strops are still there to an extent they are not half as bad, there is a secret to riding Dante thought, if I was to give anyone advice before they rode him, it would be look at his head, if you cant figure out whats wrong his facial expressions give away everything. Its extremely helpful, and to be fair I think it really helps my instructors on the ground during lessons!
Working out in field again now that the weather is finally getting back on track has been a massive help. We do a lot of canter work out there as it gives him a lot more freedom and space to really open up. A dreadful habit of mine, having strong hands when I ride with short reins, something I really need to bang on the head and get myself out of!
We have done a good bit of lunge work also recently, I use a De-Gouge on him to aid him with building up his top line muscles, when he is lunged freely there are legs flying around everywhere and to get him to concentrate is a nightmare, it’s where he really shows off his immaturity the best!
What Our Future Holds
We have a lot of big plans for the Summer, with us recently joining a riding club too. It’s about time we got out and got some mileage under our belt. There honestly is never a correct time to start anything but theirs no time like the present to just throw yourself into the deep end.
Most recently, hacking has become a new big scary thing. It has been neglected since the end of the summer, and with the bad weather we have had over the winter going out on the roads would of been quite scary. Gaining Dante’s confidence on the roads again is a must!
Getting more grid work in & some schooling in different venues would definitely benefit us massively, get us back into our jumping grove, not only showjumping schooling, but some XC also!
Thank for Reading, & be sure to keep an eye out for my new blog post all about Joining A Riding Club, I know I was very baffled by the process!