Stretching Daylight

It’s getting darker earlier. Sunday, when the sun should’ve been at it’s highest point, the quality of the light had an early evening feel to it. The leaves are turning colors and falling. Winter is coming. Eeeeekkk!

I may almost be ready for winter this year. I have insulated bib overalls, a heated hoodie with adjustable heat settings, a big winter coat, and nice thick socks. I’ll probably still freeze, but hopefully not the second I walk out the door. Then again, I probably won’t be able to walk out the door with all that stuff on. I’ll have to roll down to the barn.

The Good:

I’ve been surprised by Joy’s progress the last week or so. She’s no longer actively fighting the contact (usually). The only time she really resists the rein is when she’s too busy looking for ghosts to spoke at.

The occasions where she’ll reach for the bit are getting more frequent.  Twice this past week I was able to get almost half a circle of some stretchy-like trot with a cadenced rhythm. It seemed like one day I got on and she she was like “I’ve got this!”.  And suddenly she’d reach for the bit when I let the reins out. Of course yesterday we reverted back to not knowing how. I had to pull out every trick in my book to get a tiny bit of reach from her, and she’d only hold it for a few strides.

The pictures are from yesterday:

This is one of the rare moments she really reached for the bit. I’m leaning forward too much, which was probably why she wasn’t able to stretch down much.


I like this picture. She looks more front-to-back balanced then the one above (I’m still leaning forward).


Not stretching, but I like that she’s more open through the throat latch, and her neck appears to be arching from the withers rather than having that dip right there that she normally has. Plus her hind leg is actively stepping forward into it.



The Bad:

It seems like I vacillate daily between feeling like I’m doing an okay job of teaching Joy the basics, and feeling like I’m completely ruining her.  Today, I’m convinced I’m ruining her. One day I think I’m not asking enough of her, the next day I’m convinced I’m asking for too much. She’s not going forward enough, she’s too forward and racing. She’s not bending enough, she’s over bent. She always has her head too high, she’s rooting the reins out.


Dressage is a masochistic discipline.

The Canter:

I’m not sure how much cantering under saddle Joy did before I purchased her. Part of me secretly thinks she was 100% solid in the canter, and I’m just being a big baby about cantering her.  Or, worse, I’ve regressed her training by 10 fold (<– probably that).

I remember the prior owner saying something about her being a “drunken sailor”, but I’ve got video of him cantering her, and I cantered her a bit when I test rode her, so she’s at least been cantering some before I bought her. However, she still canters like a drunken sailor. And sometimes I’m a bit concerned we’re not going to be able to turn.

Plus, the “arena” I ride in is on a slope. Going uphill isn’t too bad, but coming back down makes me grit my teeth and want to close my eyes.



I secretly blame every problem I have on the slope. If the slope ever disappears then I’m screwed. I’ll have to admit I suck.

Joy got overly ambitious about the canter depart here. 🙂


I think, next ride I may focus on prompt response to leg aids. She’s too lazy off the leg to get her to push into the contact. It’s really odd to me that she’s not more forward thinking. I know she can be, but she’d much rather whoa than go. I thought the Morgan/Welsh breeds were a bit more energetic. More like an Arab than a QH. Yet, Joy is a conserver of energy.  Her happiest riding moments are when we’re standing still.

Anyway, long story short… some good and some bad the past week. I learned I should never quit my day job to become a horse trainer, and if I ever need to show Joy in an arena with a slope then we are so going to nail that test.


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