Training Update 1 - Winter Blues?!

I put a new category on my blogging list - somewhat regular training updates. I terribly failed with daily updates but I am trying now to look back on a week or two of training and mention the highlights as well as the lowlights.

I keep track on the days we work and the days off in my Moleskine. With a certain "code", I log our training and - new in 2016 - my own training. Just recently I installed the Sworkit App on my phone - just another fitness app you think? Actually, it is exactly what I was looking for - more on that in a later post. The letters below the letters in circles which log Hafl's training plans, are a log of my training plan - and yes, I need to do more - but I will.

A code for Hafl's training, one for mine and a color coding...

But let's get back to Hafl's training update.Let us start with looking back to December, 23. That day, Hafl gave me a very special Christmas present: two flying changes at first go on each side - for the first time ever. What a great moment that was! This very special training was followed by two days of break, a little bit of lunging, riding with and without my trainer. Quickly forward to last week Tuesday, when we had a really tough training. Hafl did not react to ANYTHING I was doing that day. We tried the changes - he went lalalala and off he ran. Okay, another try - another fail. I was pissed off and so was he. We were angry. We ended the lesson on a rather bad note. And that was just the beginning. Being angry at each other, we both seemed to be pretty depressed after this ride. For days! I really needed to apologize to make him feel better - and succeeded. The days after, I tried to incorporate more in hand work to give him more instant feedback - going back to something that he was really good at gave him back his self confidence - and gave me the chance to feed some extra treats to encourage him even more. The rides felt great afterwards, he got lunged as well and had a day off as well.

After training wellness

This week, we could keep up the great feeling that we already had last week in our trainer's lesson on Monday, yesterday he had his day off and today we went for a nice hack - it eventually snowed and so the scenery and the public holiday were too tempting. It was a hack in walk only as the snow is pretty slippery but all the horses enjoyed it.

We plan for another trainer-less training tomorrow, a trainer lesson on Friday and a day of lunging. The remaining day we will go for another hack or for a nice hand walk. Winter training plans are very delicate: you are trying to establish new movements but you need to make sure that your horse does not get bored. Riding in the indoor (for the first winter in years) is yet another problem: I love to ride outside and be able to look around when I ride. I even love the distractions. In the indoor, you are somewhat in a closed system. So going out, for a warm up or cool down walk at least, is a almost daily must. What I've learned in the last two weeks is that even if you have a real bad ride, no need to be angry - see it as a chance to make something different, to make it better. And going back to in hand work in our case all of a sudden solved (once again) some riding issues. Did we ride the changes this week? Yes, we did. And yes, we failed once or twice. But at least the one from the right to the left went great. Sometimes you need to celebrate the smallest wins.

Sleigh bells ring...

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