After Coco injured herself, we were out of action for a good 3 weeks before I started to bring her back into work. She came back in great form and surprisingly not very fresh which I was grateful for. We took it easy the first week to make sure she was sound but then I wanted to start working on getting us back to where we were. I popped her over a few fences once or twice and realised we had gotten quite rusty so I decided it was time for another lesson.
The morning of our lesson Coco was feeling super fresh. I had gotten her clipped the day before so I guess she was feeling the winter air. I spent the first 15 minutes trying to get the freshness out of her as she had gone into bronco-mode. She did settle after a while but she was absolutely buzzing. As annoying as her freshness can be, it was fun riding her through it. It’s one of those quirks that makes Coco, Coco.
Once Coco was relatively settled we moved onto the exercise of the day. Using poles, Sue set up a square on the ground (see pic below). Starting on the left rein go down over the poles and go left to turn back and go over the other side, turn left again to go up over the poles and then left again to turn back over the other side.
This exercise is great for working on a number of different areas:
- The poles are treated like canter poles so it helps both horse and rider learn how to see a stride.
- The turn back to the next set of poles helps your horse learn how to balance themselves so they can take on tighter turns in a course.
- Finally, in order to do the exercise well you need to achieve a consistent and steady rhythm to ensure you meet the poles correctly every time, so it really helps you get a feel for your horses stride.
This was exactly the kind of exercise I needed to help me get back in tune with Coco. It also really showed us which rein is Coco’s weakest (the right rein). On the turns Coco would drop her inside shoulder which resulted in her losing balance and tripping over herself. The way to fix this was to lift my inside had to hold her up and help her balance herself properly. After a few attempts on each rein we eventually started to complete the exercise successfully in a nice rhythm.
Next it was time to add in the jumps. This was Coco’s first time ever doing a bounce. I had been wanting to try them on her for a while so I was looking forward to finally giving it a go. Sue set up the jumps on one of the lines. I popped Coco over it once or twice before trying the whole exercise together. We had a few ‘honest pony’ moments but eventually we completed the exercise successfully with the jumps included.
For the last 15 minutes of the lesson we put Coco through the bounce a few times and played around with the height. We tried the bounce with the two fences at around 80cms and then we dropped the first fence and gradually pushed the height of the second part up. We ended the session with the second fence at 1m20 giving me and Coco a new height record! It was incredible how easy she found it.
Needless to say I left the lesson absolutely beaming and with my confidence well and truly restored after our break. Now looking forward to getting out to some shows 🙂
Orla & Coco