Sunday, November 11, 2012

Beautiful weather/ Spanish Riding School

November 9, 2012
So as my riding time heads toward its unfortunate and inevitable wind down for the winter (yes, I miss the indoor!)I am becoming obsessed with training and thinking about what's next for me and Nikki and me and Suki. I will lunge them when I can if the footing thaws occasionally during the winter then pick up with regular work again in the spring. Certainly not ideal for Nikki, but without an indoor, that is my only option. I enjoy having the girls together, and as I get my butt in gear in the spring to get Nikki out into the dressage ring for some serious competition maybe something will open up for next winter indoor options. Even during the windown I wish that I could find someone to ride Nikki once a week. My schedule gets a bit out of hand, so having Nikki ridden once a week would help to maintain some consistency. M isn't going to be able to do it anymore, which annoyed me a bit but what can you do, right?

Suki and Nikki are in adjacent fields now, which has some interesting dynamics. When I arrived at the barn J put some hay in Suki's pasture and that girl made a beeline in her lovely extended trot down to the gate to beat Banker to the hay. Banker remained grazing in his spot at the top of the field completely unconcerned about the hay! But Miss Diva had to get there in a hurry anyway (she's starving to death, you know). NIkki was at the top of her field also and showed no apparent interest in making my life easy by coming down to the gate. As I walked the field to retrieve diva #2, Suki followed me along the fenceline, talking the entire time. As I approached Nikki she offered me a soft nicker and finally when I was about a meter from her she started to walk toward me. Ahug, and a treat and we made our way down to the gate. Miss Suki followed along the fence line once again, talking the entire time. Sibling rivalry at its best! I swear Nikki was smirking at her!

Nikki was good under saddle in spite of Suki glaring and occasionally calling to her from her field! Once again I kept it simple but added a bit more lateral work to mix it up a bit.

Sunday, November 11, 2012
What a beautiful day! I took advantage of it by spending extra time with both girls. Suki once again followed me up and down the fenceline while I retrieved Nikki, talking the whole time. I let them touch noses at the gate before taking Nikki into the barn. LOVELY ride today! Suki did her best to distract us, but Nikki maintained her focus. I did a fair amount of lateral work and Nikki was quite sweaty at the end, with her fuzzy coat and the 65 degree temperature. But she stretched her neck happy and relaxed as we cooled out. It took awhile for her to dry and for me to get rid of the saddle marks but it was a nice bonding time. I love how Nikki leans down to snuffle my head while I remove polos and groom her legs.

When I turned Nikki back out Suki was at her own gate (which is now right next to Nikki's) so I grabbed her while I had the chance. I know that she would have followd Nikki along the fence if I didn't take her when I had the chance. Originally I hadn't planned on lunging Suki but the beautiful weather offered the perfect opportunity. Suki was happy to work and only called to Banker once on our way out to the arena! I added a surcingle for good measure, but no side reins. One step at a time. The graft was fine and Suki seemed to accept the addition of the surcingle without a second thought.... Each time I asked her to halt from the trot she lowered her head and lifted her is just second nature to her even after 3 years without consistent training. An extended spa treatment followed and Suki kept turning around to nudge me, making sure I hit the itchiest spots! When I turned her back out, Suki galloped across the field, I thought to go by Banker. But when she got to the top of the field she leaned her head over the fence into Nikki's field and called to her. Nikki walked over and the two girls touched noses...

So I have been thinking a lot about classical dressage training especially after my recent visit to the Spanish Riding School. Well, maybe obsessed is a better word. Watching the horses during their morning work out was so inspiring! They looked so relaxed and happy in their work. The riders were lovely in the saddle with little discernible movement. I envied their calm competance.

The spectator entrance of the SRS:

During the tour we were allowed to take photographs. Imagine performing in this hall...

A few weeks after I returned from Vienna, I stumbled across this:
"The Spanish Riding School Will Open its Doors in 2013" What? How? Apparently the school has been operating in the red for awhile which is when they opened the doors to the public a few days a week to watch schooling sessions. Another facility in Heldenberg also offers opportunities for spectators to observe training three days a week which has brought increased tourism to the region. Here is the article that appeared in The Chronicle:

The new programs at the SRS include training (bring your own horse), groom training and theory classes. I am seriously considering trying to get into the 5 day theory program. It includes theory classes on riding and training, under saddle and in hand.....

I have heard that the SRS has received many inquiries already, but no dates have been announced. hmmmmmm


  1. Would Suki be able to go? I think that her presence would be educational as well as inspirational.

  2. I think that it might be cost prohibitive.....But WOW, wouldn't that be great!