Oy it has been a long time since I wrote about training or riding… mostly because there wasn’t much to say! Solstice already said it, its been cold and deep this year, so I was lucky to get out once a week for a walk (rather HOP) through the snow on Bentley.
We have recently been teased in Southern Ontario now with bits of warm weather, followed by extreme cold alerts, so its hard to plan anything because while I may have been able to ride in -10 to -20 a month ago, there is no doubt I will be avoiding that now that I have felt some sun on my skin! It also means our typical soggy spring on the warm days, turning to sheet ice on the cold days. Mother Nature is hormonal but cant seem to get her meds sorted out just yet.
However, we are still able to ride the dirt road, which has a decent hill and is nice and soft on the feeties right now. We have actually been doing our dressage lessons on the road too, which has unique advantages and challenges compared to our little grass ring. Not a bad thing at all!
Speaking of our dressage lessons, although Bentley was bred for it, he has clearly stated his place is on the trails. Don’t get me wrong, hes brilliant, has some moves in there and boy is he ever pretty to watch, but after 30-40 minutes in our lesson, he turns into a child, throwing some epic (hilarious to me!) tantrums stating its time to leave this BS lateral work and collected garbage behind, and go for a big run through the forest.
The tantrums amuse me mostly because they have changed in appearance, but not in motivation since we have been together. This is how it goes:
Bentley: I wanna goooo!
Sarah: Nope, not until you chill!
Bentley: But look, I’m doing X thing that you always want me to do, now lets motor!
X used to be come together in a nice round dressage frame. He would try to run, and upon the answer NO, he would do 3-4 strides of really beautiful dressage trot, before trying to take off again. Not sure if hes expecting a run as a reward, or if he thinks he has gotten the upper-hand as I relax my hold for the good behaviour, but I have grown wise to this tactic and despite oohs and ahhs of onlookers, I have learned when its only a ploy. Tricky bugger.
Now, X seems to be anything from backing up, sidepass, shoulder in and out, turn on forehand, turn on haunches, and my favourite: all of the above in under a second!
At first I thought this meant his tantrums were getting worse, they certainly LOOK worse. But after some pondering I realized the intention has not changed, but I have given him more tools to use to “try and please/appease” me into going for a gallop. Too funny how this happens!
Back to the trail part, we have been logging quite a few road hours, back and forth and back again. I have found a segment of mixed field and tree farm that we have previously ridden in (however it isnt huge so we usually ignore it once the rest opens up) that is quite dry along the ridge, and not horrible in the valleys. We have had a few nice walks out there, but look forward to incorporating some more trotting into it.
I took some helmet cam the other day when my friend Laura rode with me on Frankie (the timbit) and later Star. If you cant make it out to your trails yet, enjoy the following snippets here!