So I'm giving Greta an official schedule. It'll help keep things from becoming dreary and to keep us from not knowing what to do when I hop on her, which hasn't been too much of a problem lately, but it has been in the past haha. Also, now that I know how to use side reins (see pictures below of Greta's first time in them on Tuesday!) that'll help with the schedule as well.
This was pretty much taken out of the pages of 101 Dressage Exercises by Jec Aristotle Ballou (what a name, huh?) because it actually will work out quite nicely for me when school *cringe* starts up again. Senior year. All AP classes. This will be interesting......
Monday: One-hour loosening session. I practiced this Monday and what I found works best is to do a lot circles and serpentines and transitions on a fairly loose rein (not floppy, but enough to keep contact) in the walk and trot in the arena, and then take her out for a gallop (which REALLY loosens her) and then come back and finish up with ten minutes or so of trot work, followed by the usual walk on a loose rein.
Tuesday: New material. Right now this just consists of staying on the bit, basic canter work, cavaletti, and becoming a lot less stiff going to the left (she's developed a bulge where she overuses her right side... shame on me for overusing it because it was her easier side!). And a lot of times if anything comes up that needs fixing during a ride, then that'll be what we work on.
Wednesday: Ground work and longeing. I'll be using the side reins for this. Lots of walk and trot work, changing the pace within each gait to spice things up a little. The book recommends using ground poles, but seeing as Greta's only had ONE side reins lesson (and it was, what, 15 minutes?) then we'll be taking it easy. The book recommends to change direction at least four times, and that sounds like a good rule to follow. I'll be timing each one to make sure they're even. I don't want to work her on the longe for more than 30 minutes, so about 7 minute intervals will be good. Initially, it'll be mostly walking until she develops the strength to do more trotting than walking. But she will be trotting :)
Thursday: New material. Same idea as what we'd do Tuesday. Perhaps more cavaletti work this day, because she'll be a bit more ready for it.
Friday: Fitness. What I have in mind is to go for trotting intervals of 10-15 minutes straight, working our way up to 20 within a few weeks. Also, one or two gallops down the "pasture aisle" and up around the round pen (I timed it to be about five minutes), followed by one or two more trotting intevals. Five minutes walk breaks will be in between each session. Initially, I plan on doing a warm up at the walk, one 10-15 min trot session, a five minute walk session, a gallop, a five minute walk session, another trot session, and a cool down.
I have some other fun stuff I want to do once she can do what I initially ask of her, like going up and down the driveway at the walk and trot (it's a long, gradual rise, but sloping enough that it's a nice, slow workout, plus the concrete is good for her feet, and it's lined by grass, so we can swap surfaces without too much of a difference, as turf is still firm but a little more forgiving than concrete) and going over crossrails....... once I know how to jump and when she's ready (I want an OK from a vet and the farrier). We can't do much trail riding as there's not really a good trail riding place nearby without having to trailer her to the park down the way and across a four lane road. I'm not going to risk walking her over a four lane road, even if it has very low traffic. I'm just paranoid about some bozo driving recklessly.....
Saturday: Confirmed movements. Warm up, ride a few Training Level tests, cool down. Keep it simple.
Sunday: NO WORK! So I can sleep in an hour :) I still go out to ride other horses (Odin for now as Tila Tequila will be out for a week due to some lameness in her RH caused by a wonderful little cut) and I fix feed on the weekends (I'm the weird girl who mucks out her horse's stall once or twice when I'm out there even after it's already been mucked out and fixes feed on the weekends for the heck of it) so Greta will definitely at least be groomed and loved on this day. After all, Sunday is a day of rest.
In other news, I will be assisting L (Odin's owner) during her 10 lessons on Saturday. I did it and while it was tiring, it was fun and I learned a lot! Longeing horses, walking kiddos on the leadline, setting up courses, it really is fun. I'm weird. I like doing that kind of stuff. And I learn a lot.
Side reins pictures!!!